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Wayne County commissioners fighting Rover Pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: September 30, 2015

The Wayne County commissioners are opposing the $4.2 billion Rover Pipeline across northern Ohio.
The commissioners unanimously urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to reject plans for two new natural gas pipelines because the project would create a public safety risk in southern Wayne County and could jeopardize the county’s strong farming economy.
A recent study determined there are spots in southern Wayne County with radio dead spots and lapses in service for firefighters and first responders that the county is working to correct, said commissioners Scott Wiggam, Jim Carmichael and Ann Obrecht.
Construction of the pipeline and resulting increased traffic in that area is “cause for concern” and will place residents at increased risk, the commissioners said in a recent two-page letter filed with the federal agency that oversees interstate pipelines.
Wayne County’s protest is unusual because the project has generally won strong support from political and business leaders along the route, although some neighbors are unhappy.
The Rover project by Texas-based Energy Transfer calls for two pipelines, both 42 inches in diameter, that would run from Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia to Defiance in northwest Ohio. The gas then could be shipped to the Midwest or to the Gulf Coast.
The Ohio leg would stretch 204.5 miles from Leesville in Carroll County through Stark and Wayne to Defiance. The pipeline would then run north to Livingston County, Mich., where it would connect to another pipeline to take gas into Ontario. Smaller laterals would extend into western Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia.
The Rover Pipeline is different from the Nexus Pipeline that has come under fire from residents of Summit, Medina and Stark counties. Both pipelines would begin in eastern Ohio and carry natural gas from Ohio’s Utica Shale to market in the Midwest and to the Gulf Coast.
The Rover Pipeline would stretch 711 miles. It could transport up to 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day, enough natural gas to heat 35,000 houses for a year.
The FERC could rule on the project this fall  and construction could begin in early 2016. The first part of the system could be operational by late 2016 and the rest in the first half 2017.
Proponents have said that the Rover Pipeline would create up to 6,500 construction jobs in Ohio. It would provide $124 million in Ohio for easements and another $135 million in local taxes.
Wayne County is No. 3 in Ohio for farming economy and is the No. 1 dairy-producing county in Ohio and the pipeline route “cuts through productive and valuable agricultural land endangering the livelihood of local farmers and the profitability of related agricultural businesses,” the commissioners said.
“The proposed pipeline will uproot trees; contaminate quality topsoil, cut through existing water sources and inevitably damage existing successful farms in our region,” they added.
They urged that the Rover Pipeline be required to do more to assure farmland safety in Wayne County and urged that the project preserve the land’s productivity. Above-ground facilities should be avoided in the middle of fields, pastures and orchards, they wrote.
Local residents along the pipeline route have filed their own concerns with the FERC.
Doral P. and Wanda McCartney of Sherrodsville said they were “extremely nervous” about the pipelines coming within 200 feet of their house and 50 feet of their barn. The family would effectively lose 6 to 8 acres from their 100-acre farm in Tuscarawas County and they want the pipeline rerouted, they wrote.

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Federal judge issues injunction against BLM's new fracking rule

By Bob Downing Published: September 30, 2015

From an announcement today:

U.S. District Court of Wyoming Grants Preliminary Injunction of Federal Hydraulic Fracturing Rule

 

WASHINGTON, D.C.– Following a decision today by U.S. District Court of Wyoming Judge Scott W. Skavdahl that granted a preliminary injunction of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) hydraulic fracturing rule, Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) President Barry Russell released the following statement:

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North Carolina county approves fracking moratorium

By Bob Downing Published: September 30, 2015

North Carolina's Stokes County has approved a three-year moratorium on fracking.

The action came earlier this week.

Click  here  to read more.

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North Dakota shale towns face growing real estate crisis

By Bob Downing Published: September 30, 2015

North Dakota is facing a real-estate crisis, as drillers in the Bakken Shale cut back operations due to continuing low commodity prices, Bloomberg Business reports.

Click  here  to read more.

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Kinder Morgan books more capacity on Northeast pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: September 30, 2015

Texas-based Kinder Morgan announced on Tuesday that it has signed agreements for capacity on its new Northeast Energy Direct Pipeline Project.

The project would transport natural gas from thye Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania to the Northeast and to New England, where there is opposition to the pipeline.

Click  here  to read more.

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Shale gas grows in China due to government money, dropping well costs

By Bob Downing Published: September 30, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration:

Decreases in the cost to drill shale gas wells and continued investment into domestic production have allowed China to increase its development of shale gas. Although reliance on natural gas imports has increased in the Chinese energy market, future shale gas production in China would help to meet natural gas demand as the country faces difficulties in developing other natural gas resources, including coalbed methane (CBM).

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Tags: China , international , natural gas , production , shale

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Chesapeake Energy cuts work force by 740 jobs

By Bob Downing Published: September 30, 2015

Chesapeake Energy Corp., the No. 1 player in Ohio's Utica Shale, said on Tuesday it has cut about 15 percent of its workforce, or 740 jobs, as depressed oil and gas prices force deeper cost cutting at the U.S. No. 2 natural gas producer, Reuters reported.

The company, which now has about 4,000 workers, has already slashed capital spending this year by about 40 percent and cut operating costs as well as its dividend as crude prices that make drilling unprofitable linger for months.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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Ohio has 1,598 drilled Utica wells, 1,014 producing Utica wells

By Bob Downing Published: September 30, 2015

Ohio has approved 2,017 Utica Shale permits, as of Sept. 26.

That total includes 1,598 drilled Utica wells and 1,014 producing Utica wells, says the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Ohio has 21 drilling rigs at work.

Ten new permits were approved: six in Belmont County, one in Guerney County, one in Harrison County and two in Jefferson County.

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Rice Energy hosts Republican Jeb Bush, his energy plans

By Bob Downing Published: September 30, 2015

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush on Tuesday unveiled his proposed energy policy at a new conference hosted by Western Pennsylvania drilling company with strong ties to Ohio's Utica Shale.

That's Rice Energy, based in Canonsburg, Pa. It is one of the big drillers in Ohio.

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

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Dominion Midstream acquires 26 percent share of Iroquois

By Bob Downing Published: September 30, 2015

From a press release today:

RICHMOND, Va., Sept. 29, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Dominion Midstream Partners, LP (NYSE: DM), has closed the previously announced acquisition of a 25.93 percent ownership interest in Iroquois Gas Transmission System, L.P. Dominion Midstream issued approximately 8.6 million common units to affiliates of National Grid plc and New Jersey Resources Corporation to acquire their ownership interests in Iroquois.

Thomas F. Farrell II, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Dominion Resources, Inc. (NYSE: D) and Dominion Midstream GP, LLC, said:

"This acquisition will help Dominion Midstream to achieve best-in-class distribution growth rates without having to drop additional Dominion-held assets into the partnership through the end of 2016. We are also excited that National Grid and New Jersey Resources have joined us as partners in Dominion Midstream."

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New EPA refinery rules could cost $1 billion, API says

By Bob Downing Published: September 30, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday:

WASHINGTON, September 29, 2015 – EPA has made substantial improvements in the final refinery sector rule over the proposal, but EPA’s new regulations on refineries could still cost up to $1 billion, according to API Downstream Group Director Bob Greco.

“EPA analyses, supported by extensive industry monitoring data, show that air emissions from refineries are already at safe levels,” Greco said. “The refinery industry has proven we can provide reliable American energy while protecting the environment and local communities, and collaborative efforts by API and the EPA led to final regulations that are more cost-effective than the proposal.”

Refineries have been reducing emissions for decades under voluntary programs and in compliance with existing regulations. Through comments made during the rulemaking process, API identified and supported practical, cost-effective opportunities to even further reduce emissions in a manner that recognizes the complexity of the industry, which EPA took into account.

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Ohio groups still worried about injection wells, earthquakes

By Bob Downing Published: September 29, 2015

From a press release today:

Frackfree Mahoning Valley and Buckeye Forest Council Release Joint Statement on StatesFirst Earthquake Primer

Youngstown, Ohio, September 29, 2015 –   Frackfree Mahoning Valley (based in Youngstown, Ohio) and Buckeye Forest Council released the following statement regarding the induced seismicity primer by StatesFirst released on September 28, 2015:

       “The idea that human beings can control earthquakes is absurd and an example of hubris. No one can guarantee that earthquakes can be kept small or non-damaging.  It is not known where all of the faults are that may become lubricated by disposal or injection well fluids, thereby possibly inducing a quake.  The quake problem is often associated with unknown faults, many of which cannot be adequately mapped since the cost to do so would be prohibitive.  Continuing on the path the oil and gas industry is on along with some of their allies is gambling with the public health, safety, and welfare. That is unacceptable,” said Teresa Mills of Buckeye Forest Council. 

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ANGA grateful for LNG export provision in House legislation

By Bob Downing Published: September 29, 2015

From America's Natural gas Alliance today:

ANGA Expresses Support for LNG Export Provision in House Energy Legislation 

Background: Following is a statement by Frank J. Macchiarola, executive vice president for government affairs at America’s Natural Gas Alliance, on the inclusion in the manager’s amendment to the North American Energy & Infrastructure Act (H.R. 8), of language to expedite approval of permits to build liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals. 

“We are pleased to see that the House Energy and Commerce Committee has included language in the manager’s amendment to its comprehensive energy bill that would provide greater certainty to the Energy Department’s processing of permits for LNG export terminals. This policy has established and broad bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.

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U.S. refineries must measure benzene emissions for first time

By Bob Downing Published: September 29, 2015

From a press release today from the Environmental Integrity Project:

Community and Environmental Groups Herald Improvements in New Oil Refinery Pollution Standards

 

All U.S. Refineries Must Measure Benzene in Communities for the First Time

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Candid discussion surrounding quakes, injection wells

By Bob Downing Published: September 29, 2015

From the Associated Press:

A group of U.S. drilling states, seismologists, academics and industry experts issued guidance Monday in a frank new report on handling human-induced earthquakes caused by hydraulic fracturing or the disposal of fracking wastewater.

The 150-page report, produced by the StatesFirst initiative, represents perhaps the most candid discussion on the topic since tremors across the mid-continent — including in Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado and Ohio — began being linked to fracking and deep-injection wastewater disposal around 2009.

It includes descriptions of how states handled various seismic incidents around the country, including their public relations strategies, and matter-of-factly references links between fracking or deep-injection wastewater disposal and earthquakes. Previously, public admissions had been fuzzy in some cases.

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State regulators cite link between quakes, injection wells

By Bob Downing Published: September 29, 2015

A Monday press release from the Environmental Defense Fund:

State Regulators Acknowledge Link Between Wastewater Injection Wells and Induced Seismicity
Statement from Scott Anderson, Senior Policy Director, US Climate and Energy Program, Environmental Defense Fund

(Austin, TX – Sept. 28, 2015) The Ground Water Protection Council and Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (through a joint project known as StatesFirst) today released a guide for regulatory agencies to evaluate and develop strategies to mitigate and manage risks of injection induced seismicity and communicate with the public.

“The GWPC and IOGCC report should put to rest the idea that industry and state regulators deny wastewater injection can cause earthquakes,” said Scott Anderson, Senior Policy Director of EDF’s US Climate and Energy Program. “The report recognizes injection can be a contributing factor and provides objective, helpful advice on what can be done about this problem.”

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Ohio, 12 other states working to mitigate quake risks

By Bob Downing Published: September 29, 2015

From a Monday press release:

State Primer Provides Guidance in Mitigating Risks of Induced Seismic Events
Work group creates recommendations in State Primer

OKLAHOMA CITY – Thirteen states partnered through a multi-state initiative called StatesFirst this past year to share and summarize current knowledge related to earthquakes potentially caused by human activity, otherwise referred to as induced seismicity.

Today, the work group comprised of members of state oil and natural gas and geological agencies and other advisory experts from academia, industry, non-profit organizations and federal agencies released a Primer to provide a guide for regulatory agencies to evaluate and develop strategies to mitigate and manage risks of injection induced seismicity. The Primer also outlines how states can best provide information to the public in a transparent and effective manner.

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Shell offers update on Burger well in Alaska's Chukchi Sea

By Bob Downing Published: September 28, 2015

From Royal Dutch Shell today:

Shell has found indications of oil and gas in the Burger J well, but these are not sufficient to warrant further exploration in the Burger prospect. The well will be sealed and abandoned in accordance with U.S. regulations.

"The Shell Alaska team has operated safely and exceptionally well in every aspect of this year's exploration program," said Marvin Odum, Director, Shell Upstream Americas. "Shell continues to see important exploration potential in the basin, and the area is likely to ultimately be of strategic importance to Alaska and the US. However, this is a clearly disappointing exploration outcome for this part of the basin.”

Shell will now cease further exploration activity in offshore Alaska for the foreseeable future. This decision reflects both the Burger J well result, the high costs associated with the project, and the challenging and unpredictable federal regulatory environment in offshore Alaska.

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Pennsylvania judge dismisses lawsuit aimed at fracking critics

By Bob Downing Published: September 28, 2015

From the Asswociated Press on Friday:

A Pennsylvania judge has dismissed a lawsuit that landowners filed against people and groups who oppose fracking in a western Pennsylvania township.

Natural gas drilling has been delayed in Middlesex, Butler County while some of the rural community's 800 residents challenge a zoning ordinance that would allow drilling in 90 percent of the rural township.

Dewey Homes and Investment Properties and 12 landowners sued the drilling opponents, seeking damages for royalties they've been unable to collect from oil and gas companies drilling companies who have leases to drill on their land.

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Halliburton, Baker Hughes announce more divestiture plans

By Bob Downing Published: September 28, 2015

From a press release today:

Halliburton and Baker Hughes Announce Additional Divestiture Proposals

DOJ Timing Agreement Extended Three Weeks to December 15, 2015

HOUSTON – September 28, 2015 – Halliburton Company (NYSE: HAL) and Baker Hughes Incorporated (NYSE: BHI) today announced that the companies will market for sale additional businesses in connection with Halliburton’s pending acquisition of Baker Hughes. Pursuant to the Merger Agreement, and in order to permit completion of Halliburton’s acquisition of Baker Hughes, the following additional businesses are intended to be divested: Halliburton’s expandable liner hangers business, which is part of the company’s Completion & Production Division; Baker Hughes’ core completions business, which includes: packers, flow control tools, subsurface safety systems, intelligent well systems, permanent monitoring, sand control tools and sand control screens; the Baker Hughes sand control business in the Gulf of Mexico, including two pressure pumping vessels; and Baker Hughes’ offshore cementing businesses in Australia, Brazil, the Gulf of Mexico, Norway, and the United Kingdom. 

The divestitures process for the previously announced divestitures of Halliburton’s Fixed Cutter and Roller Cone Drill Bits, Directional Drilling and Logging-While-Drilling (LWD)/Measurement-While-Drilling (MWD) businesses is continuing, and Halliburton is pleased that last Friday it received proposals from multiple interested parties for each business.

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Energy Transfer to spend $37.7 billion on Williams' deal

By Bob Downing Published: September 28, 2015

Texas-based Energy Transfer Equity will pay $37.7 billion to acquire the Oklahoma-based Williams Companies that owns and operates pipelines and processing plants that handle one third of U.S. natural gas.

Click  here  to read more from Bloomberg Business.

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Williams' merger agreement terminated, both sides say

By Bob Downing Published: September 28, 2015

From a press release today:

Oklahoma-based Williams Partners L.P. today announced an agreement with The Williams Companies, Inc. the owner of Williams Partners’ general partner, whereby both parties have terminated their previously announced merger agreement under which Williams was to acquire all of the public outstanding common units of Williams Partners in an all stock-for-unit transaction.

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Energy Transfer to buy pipeline rival Williams Companies

By Bob Downing Published: September 28, 2015

From a press release today:

 

 

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Reports looks at largest leaseholders of U.S. public lands

By Bob Downing Published: September 28, 2015

From a press release today:

New Report Exposes the Top Energy Companies Involved in the Federal Public Lands Giveaway 

 

Report Names Largest Leaseholders of U.S. Public Lands After 20th Anniversary of National Public Lands Day

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Royal Dutch Shell abandoning failed Arctic Ocean drilling

By Bob Downing Published: September 28, 2015

Royal Dutch Shell announced today that it was abandoning its Arctic drilling due to poor initial results in the Chukchi Sea.

The company said it had spent $7 billion on the Arctic drilling.

The move was hailed by environmkentalists who had opposed the drilling and stockholders who had questioned the move.

It was Shell's second failed drilling effort in the Arctic.

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Ohio task force still looking at boosting state severance tax

By Bob Downing Published: September 28, 2015

An Ohio legislative task force created to draft a compromise plan to raise Ohio's severance tax on drilling needs more time and will fail to meet an Oct. 1 deadline established by the task force, reports NGI's Shale Daily on Friday.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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Lawsuit filed against new federal rules to protect grouse

By Bob Downing Published: September 28, 2015

From the Associated Press on Friday:

BILLINGS, Mont. — Two Nevada counties and some mining companies want a court to block new restrictions on mining, energy development and grazing that are meant to protect a declining bird species across millions of acres of the American West.

The case appears to be the first challenge to the Interior Department’s declaration this week that it can protect the greater sage grouse without hobbling the region’s economy.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court targets newly signed federal land-use plans covering portions of Nevada, Montana, Idaho, California, Utah and Oregon. It has implications across the bird’s 11-state range.

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North Dakota drillers get more time to cut gas flaring

By Bob Downing Published: September 28, 2015

From the Associated Press on Friday:

Energy companies are getting more time to cut down on the wasteful flaring of natural gas in North Dakota's oil fields.

In return for extending by 10 months a Jan. 1 target, state regulators have implemented a stiffer long-term benchmark.

Natural gas is a byproduct of oil production. About 20 percent is currently burned off in North Dakota because the infrastructure isn't there to move it to market. That's enough to meet the daily needs of just under 2,000 average U.S. homes.

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Oil, natural gas jobs reduced by 200,000 since 2014

By Bob Downing Published: September 28, 2015

An estimated 200,000 global oil and natural gas jobs have been cut by energy companies since commodity prices started dropping in 2014, according to a new report.

Click  here  to read more from the Houston Chronicle's Fuel Fix blog.

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Pennsylvania, New Jersey utilities back $1 billion pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: September 28, 2015

From a Thursday press release:

PennEast Files Formal Application with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)

(WYOMISSING, Pa.) – PennEast Pipeline Company LLC, (PennEast) announced today it submitted its application September 24, 2015, to FERC for a permit to proceed with construction of the proposed PennEast Pipeline, signaling the next critical step in offering eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey energy consumers the environmental and economic benefits of abundant, locally produced natural gas.

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Halliburton making more cuts in North Dakota's Bakken Shale

By Bob Downing Published: September 28, 2015

From the Associated Press last week:

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — Houston-based oil field services company Halliburton has laid off some of its workers in the western North Dakota oil patch hub of Williston, though the company isn't providing details.

Halliburton in April suspended operations at its facility in Minot and transferred many of the jobs there to locations in Williston and Dickinson, citing "changing business needs from its customers."

The company two months earlier had said it planned to cut up to 6,400 jobs worldwide in response to falling oil prices.

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WPX Energy plugs nine for-sale wells in Westmoreland County

By Bob Downing Published: September 28, 2015

Oklahoma-based WPX Energy has plugged nine wells in Pennsylvania's Westmoreland County, because of lack of connecting pipelines, the Marcellus Drilling News reports.

The company has 53 additional wells in that county that have been drilled and are producing.

The company is trying to sell its Marcellus Shale holdings including the drilled and plugged wells in Westmoreland.

Click  here  to read more. (Subscription may be required)

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Stone Energy shutting in its West Virginia production

By Bob Downing Published: September 25, 2015

From a Friday press release:

LAFAYETTE, La., Sept. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Stone Energy Corporation (NYSE: SGY) today provided a production, operational and conference update.

On September 1, 2015, Stone shut-in its Mary field in Appalachia curtailing approximately 100-110 Mmcfe of production per day, leaving approximately 25 Mmcfe per day producing from the Heather and Buddy fields in Appalachia. Low commodity pricing, including negative differentials in the region, combined with fees for transportation, processing and gathering, reduced the operating margins to an unacceptable level.  As a result, despite being above production guidance for the first two months of the third quarter, production for the quarter is now expected to be below the previously stated guidance range of 39-41 Mboe per day, or 234-246 Mmcfe per day, and is being revised to 37.5-38.5 Mboe per day, or 225-231 Mmcfe per day.  If the Mary field remains shut-in, the annual guidance of 42-44 Mboe per day, or 252-264 Mmcfe per day, will need to be adjusted to account for these curtailed volumes.  Given the low margins in Appalachia, the cash flow impact from the curtailed volumes is not expected to be material for the third quarter.   Higher margin Gulf of Mexico volumes experienced minimal downtime in the third quarter. 

The ENSCO 8503 deepwater drilling rig has completed its scheduled maintenance and has been outfitted with mooring capabilities.  Stone expects to resume rig operations before October 1, 2015 and the rig will be mobilized to Mississippi Canyon block 26 to finish the completion of the Amethyst discovery (100% working interest).  Amethyst will be tied back to the Pompano platform, where first production is expected early in the first quarter of 2016.   After the Amethyst completion, the rig is currently projected to drill the Cardona #7 development well, followed by the Lamprey and Derbio deep water exploration prospects. 

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Proposed mini-cracker in Ohio's Monroe County on hold

By Bob Downing Published: September 25, 2015

A proposed mini-cracker in Monroe County is eastern Ohio is on hold, said Appalachian Resins Inc. to Rigzone magazine.

Three large cracker plants to concert ethane to polyethylene have been proposed in Ohio, western Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia. Iy is unclear if any will be built.

Click  here  to read more from Columbus Business First.

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East Coast distillate fuel oil inventories higher than in past

By Bob Downing Published: September 25, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

Inventories of distillate fuel oil in the U.S. East Coast are higher now than they have been in the previous three years, reaching 59 million barrels on September 18. Most of the recent increase is in the Central Atlantic region, but inventories are also higher in New England and in the Lower Atlantic, compared with previous late-September levels.

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Tags: distillate fuel , heating oil , inventories

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American Water Management files Ohio court appeal

By Bob Downing Published: September 25, 2015

The company behind a Trumbull County injection well that remains shut down has taken its case to Franklin County Common Pleas Court.

American Water Management Services LLC filed its suit after the Ohio Oil and Gas Commission upheld the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' order to close the two injection wells after small earthquakes in July and August 2014.

The order affects two wells north of Niles in Weathersfield Township.

The state later allowed the company to resume operations of the shallower of the two wells.

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Oklahoma makes changes to five injection wells near Cushing

By Bob Downing Published: September 25, 2015

From the Oklahoma Corporation Commission on Sept. 18:

As a result of an analysis of disposal well and seismicity data in the Cushing area, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission’s Oil and Gas Conservation Division (OGCD) is implementing a plan to change the operation of certain disposal wells in the Cushing area. ** The plan may be altered as more data is made available.
The plan calls for 2 disposal wells to stop operations, and for 3 others to reduce disposal volume.
The wells and operators are:
Operator: American Energy-Woodford, LLC
Wells: Calyx 35-2: reduce volume
Louis 6-3: shut in, plug back
Wilson 11-15: shut in
Clay: - reduce volume
Operator: F.H.A Investments
Wells: FHA 1-15: reduce volume
**Graphic attached
-occ-
(All OCC media advisories and releases are available at www.occeweb.com)

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U.S. shale drillers drowning in debt and production is at risk

By Bob Downing Published: September 25, 2015

As much as 400,000 barrels a day of oil production is at risk as U.S. shale companies like Samson Resources Co. run out of money and are forced to slow drilling, Bloomberg Business reports.

Total debt for half of the companies in a Bloomberg index of more than 60 producers has risen to a level that represents 40 percent of their enterprise value. It’s a sign of distress that shows equity values falling in the face of oil’s crash, said Rob Thummel, a managing director and portfolio manager at Tortoise Capital Advisors LLC who helps manage $15.6 billion.

 

Click  here  to read more.

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Three-year university study looks at fracking in Michigan

By Bob Downing Published: September 25, 2015

From the Associated Press on Wednesday:

By JOHN FLESHER

Michigan’s oil and gas industry and its regulators have a long way to go toward convincing the public that the development process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is environmentally sound, said the director of a study on the practice released Wednesday.

Researchers with the University of Michigan spent three years on their analysis of how fracking is conducted and overseen in the state and what might be done to improve it. The document takes no position on the use of fracking and makes no recommendations, but offers numerous options, listing the pros and cons of each.

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Medina Co. judge to rule on Oct. 2 on Nexus Pipeline access

By Bob Downing Published: September 24, 2015

Medina County Common Pleas Judge Christopher Collier said he expects to rule on Oct. 2 on whether the Nexus Pipeline will be given survey access to private property.
The judge said during a 40-minute hearing on Thursday  that he expects to work on his decision this weekend and early next week.
State law gives the Texas-based Nexus Gas Transmission LLC the authority to survey private property, said attorney Jim Hughes of the Columbus law firm of Bricker & Eckler LLP who represents the pipeline company.
Two sections of Ohio law are “clear and unambiguous” on that point, he said.
Attorney Gregory A. Huber of Medina, representing Medina County residents opposed to granting access, argued that the pipeline project should win approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission before the companu is allowed to survey properties.
That is not the way that Ohio law is written, Hughes said in response.
The hearing attracted a full courtroom of Medina County residents unhappy with the pipeline route.
“God will prevail,” said Montville Township’s Joe Hyclak, who is supporting the pipeline fight.
The Medina County fight is part of a bigger battle over eroding landowner rights and the fight will continue, said Paul Gierosky of York Township, a spokesman for the grass-roots Coalition to Reroute Nexus (CORN).
On July 17, Collier dismissed the company’s temporary restraining order request. A total of 113 Medina County landowners were named in the legal action.
In Summit County, Judge Mary Margaret Rowlands has scheduled a trial date of Oct. 26 on the Nexus request for survey access in New Franklin and Green. She denied the company’s request for survey access on 56 properties on Aug. 12.
The city of Green and CORN have urged that the pipeline be rerouted to the south away from developed areas in Stark, Summit and Medina counties, a proposal not supported by the company. That would affect about 103 miles of pipeline.
Nexus has won temporary restraining orders allowing property access in 10 of 13 counties including Wayne and Stark counties.
It has not been granted survey access in three counties: Medina, Summit and Erie counties, where a hearing is scheduled on Monday.  
Nexus wants to build a $2 billion pipeline that would run west from Ohio’s Utica Shale across northern Ohio to Defiance in northwest Ohio and then north to Detroit and Ontario, where it would connect to existing pipelines.
The proposed 250-mile pipeline would be 36 inches in diameter and could transport enough natural gas to fuel 6 million homes.
If approved, construction could begin in early 2017 and the pipeline could begin operations late that year.
The pipeline is being developed by the Texas company along with Detroit-based DTE Energy and Texas-based Spectra Energy Partners.

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New Jersey groups fighting new PennEast Pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: September 24, 2015

From a press release today:

Conservation & Citizen Groups Call on FERC and NJ DEP to Deny PennEast Pipeline

Project would do Irreparable Harm to Land, Water and Communities

HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP, N.J., Sept. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Conservation and citizen groups today called on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the NJ Department of Environmental Protection to deny PennEast's application to build a proposed pipeline that would cut through Mercer and Hunterdon Counties, causing irreparable harm to over 4,000 acres of preserved open space and farmland, 31 of the state's cleanest and most ecologically significant streams, and many landowners and communities.  PennEast filed their formal application with FERC today despite overwhelming opposition from landowners, local communities and elected leaders throughout the region.

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$2 billion Mountaineer XPress Project is filed with FERC

By Bob Downing Published: September 24, 2015

From a press release on Wednesday:

CHARLESTON, W.Va., Sept. 23, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Columbia Pipeline Group, Inc. and Columbia Pipeline Partners LP (together, "Columbia")  today announced that their subsidiary, Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC received notification that its Mountaineer XPress Project ("MXP") was recently accepted into pre-filing by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ("FERC"). (Docket number PF15-31) 

Columbia plans to formally file its application with the FERC for MXP and Gulf XPress ("GXP") in April 2016.

The approximate $2 billion MXP project will include the construction of roughly 165 miles of natural gas pipeline from Marshall County to Wayne County, West Virginia. It will create approximately 2.7 billion cubic feet per day of firm transportation capacity from existing and new points of receipt along or near Columbia Transmission's system, providing producers in the Marcellus and Utica shale areas new transportation options to move gas out of the capacity-constrained supply basin and into the interstate market. 

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Sustained low prices could reduce E&P investment, EIA says

By Bob Downing Published: September 24, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

Low oil prices, if sustained, could mark the beginning of a long-term drop in upstream oil and natural gas investment. Oil prices reflect supply and demand balances, with increasing prices often suggesting a need for greater supply. Greater supply, in turn, typically requires increased investment in exploration and production (E&P) activities. Lower prices reduce investment activity.

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Tags: liquid fuels , oil/petroleum , prices

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Diverse views expressed at EPA hearing on methane rules

By Bob Downing Published: September 24, 2015

From the Associated Press om Wednesday:

DENVER — Over-regulating methane emissions could discourage the use of environment-friendly natural gas, an energy industry representative told the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday.

However, a former Colorado air quality official countered that such controls would be a cost-effective way to fight climate change.
The EPA heard radically different views as it opened public hearings in Denver on its proposal to slash allowable methane emissions from oil and gas production. Sessions were also scheduled in Dallas on Wednesday and in Pittsburgh on Sept. 29.

The proposed rules are aimed at cutting the emissions by 40 to 45 percent by 2025 compared with 2012 levels.

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Coalition to fight Ohio EPA on compressor station permitting

By Bob Downing Published: September 24, 2015

From a Wednesday press release:

(Grand Rapids, OH) A coalition of 27 grassroots environmental organizations and 15 Ohio individual citizens have joined together and formally challenged new rules proffered by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) to weaken air quality regulation for compressor station installations, which are key parts of gas mega-pipelines planned to serve the unconventional shale drilling (fracking) industry. The coalition, led by the FreshWater Accountability Project with support from the Buckeye Forest Council and Food and Water Watch, formed in opposition to OEPA’s efforts to “streamline and expedite” this important aspect of permitting process, which would further promote the horizontal hydrofracking (fracking) industry in Ohio.  The streamlining, activists claim, comes at the expense of local residents who are likely to be detrimentally impacted by toxic chemical and radiological exposures in the vicinity of compressor stations. 

 

If the OEPA grants such "general permits" to polluters for these facilities, there will be no public notice or comment period as a prerequisite to controlling emissions of benzene, volatile organic chemicals, radon gas and radium-226. Moreover, polluters will be able to keep the permit even if they are polluting beyond the allowable amount.  Despite growing opposition from local citizens who object to fracking and mega-pipeline projects in their communities, there would be no means to voice opposition under the proposed shift to general permits.

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Antero closes on $1.05 billion water business transaction

By Bob Downing Published: September 24, 2015

From an Antero press release today:

DENVER, Sept. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Antero Midstream Partners LP (NYSE: AM) ("Antero Midstream" or the "Partnership") and Antero Resources Corporation (NYSE: AR) ("Antero Resources" or the "Company") jointly announced today the closing of the previously announced $1.05 billion water business drop down transaction, private placement of 12,898,000 Antero Midstream common units to a group of institutional investors, and net issuance of 10,988,421 Antero Midstream common units to Antero Resources.

Transaction Summary

In connection with the $1.05 billion transaction, the Partnership paid Antero Resources $552 million in cash and issued 23,886,421 common units representing limited partner interests in the Partnership to Antero Resources.  Additionally, gross proceeds of $243 million from the Partnership's private issuance of 12,898,000 common units have been paid to Antero Resources while the 23,886,421 of common units issued to Antero Resources has been reduced by the 12,898,000 common units issued in the private placement. Antero Resources now owns 116,870,335 combined common and subordinated units, representing approximately 66.5% of the outstanding limited partner interests in Antero Midstream.

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New federal methane regulations not needed, API tells EPA

By Bob Downing Published: September 24, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute on Wednesday:

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API says grouse restrictions could impact drilling, economy

By Bob Downing Published: September 24, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute:

WASHINGTON, September 23, 2015 – API today criticized the Department of the Interior’s decision to finalize flawed land use plan amendments that could lead to negative investment impacts across several industries, including oil and natural gas, grazing and renewable energy development. These amendments were released despite the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s science-based decision not to list the greater sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act.

“Industry is committed to, and has demonstrated, the ability to conserve habitat, protect species and increase energy production,” said Erik Milito, API director upstream and industry operations. “As a result, these proposals to further limit access to development only serve to stifle critical energy production and prevent job creation. This comes at a time when access to federal lands continues to decline at the hands of adverse federal decision-making.”

Total combined oil and natural gas production on onshore federal lands have fallen, while permits for development on federal lands are the lowest since 2002, according to data from the Congressional Research Service and Bureau of Land Management.

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Magnum Hunter Resources hires new financial executive

By Bob Downing Published: September 24, 2015

From a press release today:

IRVING, TX--(Marketwired - Sep 24, 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 the Board of Directors has appointed Chris Hewitt as Vice President - Finance and Capital Markets effective September 15, 2015. Mr. Hewitt, age 45, will report directly to Gary C. Evans, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Magnum Hunter.

Mr. Hewitt brings more than 14 years of investment banking experience, including 12 years providing equity and debt capital markets and mergers and acquisition advisory services for large independent oil and gas exploration and production companies. Mr. Hewitt has extensive experience in executing capital market transactions, including initial public and follow-on equity offerings as well as investment grade and high yield debt offerings. Prior to his appointment at Magnum Hunter, Mr. Hewitt served as Director of energy investment banking at Wells Fargo Securities since 2010. During his 9 year tenure at Wells Fargo Securities (previously Wachovia Capital Markets) he also served as Vice President of energy investment banking. Prior to joining Wells Fargo / Wachovia, Mr. Hewitt served in various investment banking roles at both Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns & Company. Mr. Hewitt earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations from the University of Notre Dame. In addition, Mr. Hewitt holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of Texas School of Law and a Masters of Business Administration from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.

Management Comments

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Enterprise Products begins service on new Texas pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: September 24, 2015

Texas-based Enterprise Products Partners LP announced on Monday that its new Rancho II Pipeline is in service.

The 88-mile pipeline runs between Sealy, Texas, and the Houston terminal.

It is a 36-inch-in-diameter pipeline for crude oil, condensate and processed condensate from the Permian Basin and the Eagle Ford Shale.

Click  here  to read more.

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Enervest in $125 million deal in Eagle Ford Shale in Texas

By Bob Downing Published: September 24, 2015

From a Tuesday press release:

HOUSTON, Sept. 22, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Alta Mesa Holdings, LP announced today that it has entered into an agreement to sell its subsidiary Alta Mesa Eagle, LLC which owns certain oil and gas producing properties in the Eagle Ford Shale area and other assets, to EnerVest, Ltd and its affiliates, for a total price of $125 million, subject to customary purchase price adjustments. Alta Mesa will initially be paid $118 million for all of the membership interests in Alta Mesa Eagle, LLC, subject to customary adjustments, with additional payments of an estimated $7 million in the aggregate, to be made upon the occurrence of certain events. The closing is expected to occur by the end of September 2015 and is subject to normal and customary closing conditions. The transaction has an effective date of July 1, 2015. As of the effective date, the reserves associated with Alta Mesa Eagle's oil and gas properties were 7.8 million barrels of oil equivalent, with 31% of the volumes classified as proved developed. The properties, primarily located in Karnes County, are non-operated and consist of all of the remaining interests that Alta Mesa has in this area.

In a separate transaction, Alta Mesa's subsidiary, Oklahoma Energy Acquisitions LLC (OEA) has entered into a Letter of Intent with affiliates of EnerVest, Ltd., under which the parties have agreed to negotiate definitive documentation that will grant OEA an option to purchase approximately 1,700 net acres in Kingfisher County, Oklahoma in the STACK play by December 31, 2015.

Wells Fargo Securities acted as the financial adviser to Alta Mesa on the transaction. Additional details related to this transaction can be found in Alta Mesa's associated Form 8-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission which is available on the Company's website at www.altamesa.net.

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YSU program on low-level radioactive waste from drilling

By Bob Downing Published: September 23, 2015

Andrew Nelson, a graduate student at the University of Iowa, will speak on Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials associated with shale drilling, today at Youngstown State University.

His talk on the low-level radioactive waste will begin at 7 p.m in room B100 of Cushwa Hall.

Nelson is a doctoral candidate and a Presidential Graduate Reserach Fellow in human toxicology.

Free and open to the public. Metered parking is available on Lincoln Avenue and nearby streets.

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FERC approves Cameron Acccess Project in Louisiana

By Bob Downing Published: September 23, 2015

From a press release on Monday:

HOUSTON, Sept. 21, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Columbia Pipeline Group, Inc. ("CPG") and Columbia Pipeline Partners LP (together, "Columbia") announced today that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ("FERC") has approved construction of the Cameron Access Project in Southwest Louisiana by its subsidiary Columbia Gulf Transmission, LLC ("Columbia Gulf").

"We are pleased that the FERC has approved our application to construct the Cameron Access Project," said CPG President Glen Kettering.  "This is an important natural gas infrastructure project that further connects abundant, but constrained, Appalachian supplies to higher value markets."

The Cameron Access Project includes improvements to Columbia Gulf's existing pipeline system, as well as ancillary facilities, a new compressor station near Lake Arthur, Louisiana, and the installation of an approximately 26 mile greenfield pipeline lateral in Cameron Parish that provides direct access to the Cameron LNG export facility.  The project involves an investment of approximately $310 million and includes binding precedent agreements for more than 90% of the 800 million cubic feet of new firm transportation capacity.

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Ohio releases publication looking at potential drilling areas

By Bob Downing Published: September 23, 2015

A recent press release from ODNR's Division of Gelogical Survey:

The Ohio Geological Survey has released three new publications that result from its recent research efforts. The variety of documents illustrates the broad constituency that the Survey supports, from the general public to industry to local governments.

A new open-file report, OFR 2015-1: Karst of the Hillsboro, New Market, New Vienna, and Leesburg Quadrangles, Ohio, details the locations of karst features in the vicinity of Hillsboro, Ohio. Karst features include sinkholes, disappearing streams, and springs and can affect infrastructure (roads, utilities) and buildings. Produced as part of a grant project funded by the U.S. Geological Survey, Great Lakes Geologic Mapping Coalition, the report includes introductory text on the methodology and results of the study, as well as a 72-page map book featuring the area geology and locations of 644 verified and suspected karst features. The new OFR 2015-1 is a great resource for land-use planners and homeowners who seek to develop land in the Hillsboro vicinity, and it is available as a free download in PDF or for purchase on a CD-ROM, which includes all the data used to produce the map book.

Released in conjunction with OFR 2015-1, the new GeoFacts 31: Ohio Karst offers readers a great introduction to karst terrain. The two-sided fact sheet includes a definition and explanation of karst terrain and how its features shape the landscape and can affect the environment. Sinkholes, disappearing streams, and springs can impact land use potentially by damaging infrastructure and buildings or polluting groundwater. The new GeoFacts will be a useful reference for homeowners and young learners interested in Ohio’s geology. Click here to learn more about Ohio karst and download a copy of the new GeoFacts 31.

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U.S. coal mine starts continue to edcline, EIA says

By Bob Downing Published: September 23, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

The number of new and reactivated coal mines that began production in 2013 fell to the lowest level in at least the past 10 years. The addition of 103 mines in 2013 came as 271 mines were idled or closed, resulting in a 14% decline in the total number of producing coal mines from 2012 to 2013. The 2013 total was 397 fewer coal mines than in 2008, when coal production was at its highest. Although preliminary 2014 data on coal production from the Mine Safety and Health Administration indicate a slight increase both in production and in new and reactivated mines for 2014, these levels will still be below previous levels.

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Tags: coal , mining , production

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Halliburton to pay $18.3 million in OT owed to 1,000 workers

By Bob Downing Published: September 23, 2015

From a Tuesday press release:

Global oil and gas service provider failed to pay overtime

HOUSTON — In one of the largest recoveries of overtime wages in recent years for the U.S. Department of Labor, oil and gas service provider, Halliburton, has agreed to pay $18,293,557 to 1,016 employees nationwide. The department's Wage and Hour Division investigated Halliburton as part of an ongoing, multi-year compliance initiative in the oil and gas industry in the Southwest and Northeast.

Investigators found Halliburton incorrectly categorized employees in 28 job positions as exempt from overtime. The company did not pay overtime to these salaried employees — working as field service representatives, pipe recovery specialists, drilling tech advisors, perforating specialists and reliability tech specialists — when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The company also failed to keep accurate records of hours worked by these employees.

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Anadarko Petroleum Corp. promotes Amanda McMillian

By Bob Downing Published: September 23, 2015

From a recent press release:

HOUSTON, Sept. 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (NYSE: APC) today  announced Amanda M. McMillian, formerly Vice President, Deputy General Counsel, Corporate Secretary and Chief Compliance Officer, has been promoted to Senior Vice President, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary and Chief Compliance Officer.

Anadarko's Robert K. (Bobby) Reeves, formerly Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer, will assume the new title of Executive Vice President, Law and Chief Administrative Officer, and will continue to serve as a member of the company's executive committee.

"Amanda has been an outstanding contributor to the success of Anadarko," said Walker. "Since joining Anadarko in 2004, she has been a trusted voice advancing the company's legal and compliance requirements, while demonstrating tremendous leadership throughout our organization. This move also will enable Bobby to devote more time to the management of Anadarko globally and, in particular, to enhancing our approach to domestic and international government relations. Bobby is uniquely capable of further strengthening the positive relationships we've developed with various governments and NGOs, as energy policy in all countries continues to evolve."

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Marcus Hook envisioned to be new Pennsylvania energy center

By Bob Downing Published: September 23, 2015

There are some who envision Marcus Hook in eastern Pennsylvania becoming a new energy complex.

It would take Utica and Marcellus shale products from pipelines for processing and shipments.

The 800-acre industrial complex sits on the Delaware River outside of Philadelphia.

Click  here  to read a recent Philadelphia Inquirer story about the complex and its future.

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OSU Extension to hold Oct. 27 workshop on Ohio shale impacts

By Bob Downing Published: September 23, 2015

From a press release today:

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The effects of Ohio’s unprecedented oil and gas boom will be seen far beyond the 1,600 horizontal wells now dotting the landscape in eastern Ohio.

Authorities say the pipelines that will criss-cross the state and other new infrastructure required to make use of the state’s newfound energy riches will likely have a presence in every county in the Buckeye State.

In addition, solar, wind and other alternative sources of energy have become a strong presence in some parts of the state in recent years.

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Earth Island Journal looks at Ohio fracking ban defeats

By Bob Downing Published: September 23, 2015

Earlier this week, the Earth Island Journal carried a report by Simon Davis-Cohen on how state government in Ohio and the natural gas industry had teamed up against local fracking ban initiatives in Ohio.

That effort included state officials hiring industry-affiliated law firms to defend efforts to block the community bill of rights ballot measures, he wrote.

Click  here  to read the full account.

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API says Clinton has it wrong on Keystone XL Pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: September 23, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday:

“Hillary Clinton’s decision to oppose Keystone is a missed opportunity to seize the true potential of our energy renaissance,” said Gerard. “It is most unfortunate for American workers and consumers that she has joined the forces of delay and denial. The years of indecision by this White House on this project are mind boggling. Who thought seven years ago when the Keystone permit was first initiated that 2016 presidential candidates would be weighing in on KXL?

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Clinton speaks out against the Keystone XL Pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: September 23, 2015

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton finally spoke out against the Keystone XL Pipeline while on the campaign trail in Iowa.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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Dover to get 400 jobs for new Cadiz-to-Canton pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: September 22, 2015

A Texas-based pipeline construction company will be bringing 400 jobs to Dover in Tuscarawas County.

Price Gregory International Inc. will use Dover as the base for building a new 52-mile  pipeline for Marathon Oil from Cadiz to Canton.

The line will be 16 inches in diameter.

The announcement of the 400 jobs came on Monday night from Mayor Richard Homrighausen.

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API unhappy with Senate Democrats' tax plan on energy

By Bob Downing Published: September 22, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute today:

WASHINGTON, Sept. 22, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A plan to raise taxes on energy and pick winners and losers in the marketplace released Tuesday by Senate Democrats is backward-facing and could threaten America's energy revolution and harm consumers, according to API Executive Vice President Louis Finkel.

"API supports an all-of-the-above energy strategy based on America's vast resources that will provide affordable and reliable energy to consumers here at home and abroad for generations to come. This proposal uses taxpayer dollars to raise the cost of energy for American consumers.

"America's oil and natural gas industry pays one of the highest tax rates among U.S. businesses, generating billions of dollars every year in revenue for the federal government.  Instead of higher taxes and royalty rates that discourage domestic production, policymakers should follow pro-development energy policies that create jobs and help our nation provide affordable and reliable energy for consumers.

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Drilling industry fears higher costs with grouse decision

By Bob Downing Published: September 22, 2015

A press release today:

IPAA: Greater Sage-Grouse Decision Will Have Major Economic Impacts

 

WASHINGTON, D.C.– Today, Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Political Affairs Dan Naatz issued the following statement regarding the Obama Administration’s decision to not list the Greater sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act (ESA):

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Federal agency unveils conservation plan for grouse

By Bob Downing Published: September 22, 2015

A press release today:

Historic Conservation Campaign Protects Greater Sage-Grouse
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determines federal land management plans and partnerships with states, ranchers, and NGOs avert ESA listing by conserving America’s “Sagebrush Sea”

DENVER – An unprecedented, landscape-scale conservation effort across the western United States has significantly reduced threats to the greater sage-grouse across 90 percent of the species’ breeding habitat and enabled the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to conclude that the charismatic rangeland bird does not warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This collaborative, science-based greater sage-grouse strategy is the largest land conservation effort in U.S. history.

Secretary Jewell made the announcement earlier today on Twitter with a video that explains why the sage grouse decision is historic and sets the groundwork for a 21st-century approach to conservation.

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Ohio has 1,591 drilled Utica wells, 1,009 producing Utica wells

By Bob Downing Published: September 22, 2015

Ohio has approved 2,013 Utica Shale drilling permits, as of Sept. 19.

That total includes 1,591 drilled Uitca wells and 1,009 producing Utica wells.

Ohio has 22 drilling rigs at work.

Fifteen new permits were approved: four in Belmont County, four in Guernsey County, five in Harrison County and two in Noble County.

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Energy group pleased with listing-not-warranted decision

By Bob Downing Published: September 22, 2015

From a press release today:

“We applaud Secretary Jewell’s decision that a listing of the Greater Sage-Grouse is not warranted,” said Kathleen Sgamma, vice president of government and public affairs. “States, counties, federal agencies, industries, ranchers, private landowners and conservation groups have come together to successfully protect the sage grouse and its habitat. The Fish and Wildlife Service has correctly recognized that those efforts are more effective than a federal listing under the Endangered Species Act.

“The Interior Department arrived at the right decision, but took the wrong path to get there. The decision rests on robust population numbers and effective state and local efforts that are working to protect the species, not the flawed federal land use plans that the Secretary also released today. As state wildlife agencies have shown, sage grouse populations have not only rebounded recently but are stable over the long-term. The scientific work underpinning our Data Quality Act challenges will be invaluable to support the not-warranted decision while still enabling legal challenges to the land use plans to move forward.

“We are disappointed that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Forest Service persist with top-down, centralized management of sage-grouse on public lands that discourages more effective western efforts,” continued Sgamma. “Rather than incorporating state sage grouse plans into the federal plans, BLM has discounted the input and conservation work of governors, counties, and productive public land users in favor of a uniform approach.

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IECA calls for federal three-year reviews of pipeline rates

By Bob Downing Published: September 22, 2015

A press release today from the Industrial Energy Consumers of America:

IECA CALLS ON FERC TO RESUME THREE YEAR REVIEWS OF INTERSTATE NATURAL GAS PIPELINE RATES

The Industrial Energy Consumers of America (IECA) and a large group of companies and organizations urge FERC to resume mandatory three year reviews of interstate natural gas pipeline rates. One of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) most fundamental responsibilities is to ensure that rates charged by interstate natural gas pipelines are just and reasonable as required by the Natural Gas Act. 

“Unfortunately, many interstate pipeline companies are abusing their monopoly power and are overcharging their customers,” said Paul N. Cicio, president of the Industrial Energy Consumers of America. “The overcharges are costs that eventually every natural gas consumer pays.”     

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NRG Energy to keep burning coal at its Avon Lake power plant

By Bob Downing Published: September 22, 2015

NRG Energy says it intends to keep burning coal at its Avon Lake power plant west of Cleveland.

It intends to add anti-pollution equipment to two boilers in 2016, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported..

Earlier, the company had said it intended to switch to cleaner-burning natural gas.

The firm ran into delays in developing plans for a $40 million natural gas pipeline from Grafton to supply the plant in Lorain County.

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NWF pleased with federal recovery plan for grouse, habitat

By Bob Downing Published: September 22, 2015

From a National Wildlife Federation press release today:

NWF: Feds’ Decision on Sage Grouse Charts Course to Save Species & Landscape

 

DENVER (Tuesday, Sept. 22) – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to give state and federal conservation efforts an opportunity to save the greater sage grouse and its habitat is the right decision for the grouse, the hundreds of other species of the sagebrush steppe and the sportsmen, wildlife enthusiasts, ranchers and local economies that depend on this Western landscape.

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Bird group supports federal plans for greater sage-grouse

By Bob Downing Published: September 22, 2015

From American Bird Conservancy today:

(Sept. 22, 2015) Federal management plans unveiled today are crucial for the conservation of the Greater Sage-Grouse. They protect sagebrush habitat from industrial development and wildfires, and adopt new management standards that advance conservation and habitat restoration across over 50 million acres of the species’ range on public lands.

These Bureau of Land Management and USDA Forest Service conservation plans represent a huge collaborative effort involving multiple stakeholders. These complex plans need to be given a chance to work. Based on this, we believe that additional legislation and regulation concerning the grouse is not needed at this time and support the Department of Interior’s decision that Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection is currently ‘not warranted.’

However, it will take time to tell if these plans foster enough habitat protection and effective controls on future developments to justify a final conclusion that the species will never warrant ESA protection.

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MarkWest Energy gets top ranking in midstream survey

By Bob Downing Published: September 22, 2015

From a Monday press release:

MARKWEST ENERGY RIDES OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE TO FIRST-PLACE RANKING IN ENERGYPOINT RESEARCH’S 2015 OIL & GAS MIDSTREAM SERVICES CUSTOMER SATISFACTION SURVEY

After years of growth fueled by shale development and high commodity prices, midstream companies are now looking to distinguish themselves in the market place through higher levels of performance and renewed attention to customer needs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
HOUSTON (Sept 21, 2015) – EnergyPoint Research, the leading provider of customer satisfaction ratings for the oil and gas industry, announces results from its 2015 Oil & Gas Midstream Services Customer Satisfaction Survey. The independent survey, which has been conducted six times since 2003, is part of EnergyPoint’s series of studies focused on the industry’s satisfaction with the products and services it utilizes. A total of 17 companies received the minimum number of evaluations needed to be included in the rankings.

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Total petroleum deliveries rose by 0.8 percent in August, API says

By Bob Downing Published: September 22, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute last week:

File Type: pdf | File Size: 122676

File Type: pdf | File Size: 88418

File Type: pdf | File Size: 17506

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Magnum Hunter Resources names new chief operating officer

By Bob Downing Published: September 22, 2015

From a recent press release:

Texas-based Magnum Hunter Resources Corporation (NYSE: MHR) (NYSE MKT: MHR.PRC) (NYSE MKT: MHR.PRD) (NYSE MKT: MHR.PRE) (the "Company" or "Magnum Hunter") announced on August 6, 2015 that the Board of Directors of the Company appointed Keith Yankowsky as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer effective September 1, 2015. Mr. Yankowsky commenced employment with the Company on September 1, 2015 and reports directly to Gary C. Evans, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Magnum Hunter.

In connection with Mr. Yankowsky's commencement of employment, the Company granted Mr. Yankowsky two million shares of restricted common stock. Provided Mr. Yankowsky remains employed by the Company on the applicable vesting dates, the shares of restricted stock granted to him will vest in three equal installments on March 31, 2016, September 1, 2017 and September 1, 2018. To the extent Mr. Yankowsky does not remain employed by the Company, for any reason, the shares of restricted stock that have not vested as of the date of his termination of employment will be forfeited.

About Magnum Hunter Resources Corporation

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NiSource named to Dow Jones Sustainability Index

By Bob Downing Published: September 22, 2015

From a press release last week:

NiSource Inc. was named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index North America in recognition of the company's sustainable business practices and performance for the second consecutive year.

"We're pleased to maintain our status as a DJSI North America Index member," NiSource President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Hamrock said. "This is a result of a focused strategy and the continued efforts of our more than 7,000 employees and our key business partners. As this recognition in sustainability leadership illustrates, we're deeply committed to serving our customers, employees and other key stakeholders in a way that balances immediate and long-term benefits."

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Ohio board approves gas-fired power plant in Lordstown

By Bob Downing Published: September 21, 2015

From the Ohio Power Siting Board on Sept. 17:

COLUMBUS, OHIO (Sept. 17, 2015) – The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) today authorized Clean Energy Future-Lordstown (CEF-L) to construct an 800-megawatt natural gas-fired combined-cycle generation facility in Lordstown, Ohio.

The Lordstown Energy Center will be located on a 17-acre parcel in the Lordstown Industrial Park east of State Route 45 and south of Henn Parkway. The facility and associated transmission infrastructure will interconnect to the American Transmission Systems, Inc. (ATSI) bulk transmission system.

CEF-L plans to commence construction later this year and begin commercial operation by May 2018. According to CEF-L, the project represents an estimated construction investment of more than $850 million and will support an estimated 1,026 related jobs in Trumbull and Mahoning counties.

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U.S. propane inventories at all-time high, EIA says

By Bob Downing Published: September 21, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

U.S. inventories of propane and propylene reached 97.7 million barrels as of September 11, the highest level in the 22 years that EIA has collected weekly propane inventory statistics. In the first six months of 2015, U.S. propane and propylene inventories were 24.3 million barrels higher on average compared to the same period in 2014. In the past year, nearly all of the increase in inventories occurred in the Gulf Coast region (PADD3).

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Tags: forecast , hydrocarbon gas liquids , inventories , liquid fuels , natural gas , propane , STEO (Short-Term Energy Outlook)

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$337 million settlement possible in fiery Canadian derailment

By Bob Downing Published: September 21, 2015

From the Associated Press on Sunday:

PORTLAND, Maine — A $338 million settlement fund for victims of a fiery train derailment that claimed 47 lives in Canada is poised for final approval, but payments could be held up by a legal challenge from one of that country’s largest railways.

Canadian Pacific, which opposes the settlement fund, declined to contribute because it contends others were responsible for the tragedy.

If the settlement is approved, Canadian Pacific would be left open to lawsuits while those the railroad considers to be responsible would be shielded from further legal battles by the agreement.

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CELDF pleased with Ohio Supreme Court ruling in Youngstown case

By Bob Downing Published: September 21, 2015

A press release on Saturday from the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund:

Ohio Supreme Court Upholds the Right of the People of Youngstown to Vote on a Citizens’ Initiative

 

Youngstown Community Bill of Rights Placed on November ballot

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Marathon Petroleum, MarkWest looking at $9 billion in projects

By Bob Downing Published: September 21, 2015

Marathon Petroleum Corp and MarkWest Energy Partners have identified up to $9 billion in potential projects including pipeline reversals.

Marathon had announced plans to acquire MarkWest Energy Partners.

Click  here  to read more.

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Six new ethane cracker plants are planned along the Gulf Coast

By Bob Downing Published: September 21, 2015

It is unclear whether any billion-dollar ethane cracker plants will be built in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Four have been proposed.

But at leastsix new cracker plants are under construction on the Gulf Coast and will be processing ethane from the Utica and Marcellus shales in Ohio and surrounding states.

The ethane will be shipped to the Gulf Coast via pipelines.

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U.S. LNG projects advancing, despite potential LNG export glut

By Bob Downing Published: September 21, 2015

Most U.S. liquefied natural gas export projects are still moving forward despite a looming glut of export capacity, according to a new analysis by energy consulting group Wood Mackenzie.

U.S. producers have about 60 million tons per year of LNG capacity currently under construction. Internationally, there’s about 140 million tons per year of liquefaction capacity in the works, which is a significant expansion for today’s market of about 250 million tons per year.

That capacity currently being built is enough to meet the world’s LNG needs until about 2022 and will likely lead to a short-term glut when it comes online, said Noel Tomnay, Vice President Global Gas & LNG Research for Wood Mackenzie.

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

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Pennsylvania company devises new means to disinfect frack water

By Bob Downing Published: September 21, 2015

A Pittsburgh area company has devised an alternate way to disinfect frack water that  is safer and cheaper than current methods.

The company is Dirk Thomas Solutions, based in Wexford. It presented at an industry conference last week in Philadelphia.

Its method would eiminate biocides that are now used to kill bacteria in the frack water.

Click  here  to read the story from the Pittsburgh Business Times.

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U.S. shale producers are planning big cuts in 2016 budgets

By Bob Downing Published: September 21, 2015

Some of the largest U.S. shale oil producers have already begun slashing 2016 budgets, with some planning double-digit reductions starting next January, the latest sign low crude prices are forcing a radical adjustment in the industry.

Click  here  to read more from Reuters.

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Italian firm finds supergiant natural gas field off Egypt

By Bob Downing Published: September 21, 2015

Last month, an Italian company announced it had found a supergiant natural gas field off the coast of Egypt.

Click  here  to read more about the announcement by Eni SpA.

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Exxon Mobil subsidiary eying Texas Permian Shale holdings

By Bob Downing Published: September 21, 2015

Exxon Mobil is interested in acquiring bargain-priced Permian Shale holdings in West Texas, according to the Houston Chronicle's Fuel Fix blog.

Click  here  to read more.

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MarkWest to pay $76,405 fine for W. Va. water problems

By Bob Downing Published: September 20, 2015

MarkWest's Liberty Midstreams and Resources has agreed to pay a $76,405 fine to West Virginia for pipeline-related water problems in northern West Virginia.

The problems occurred in Ohio, Marshall, Doddridge and Wetzel counties from May 013 through April 2015.

To read more, click  here.

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Youngstown community bill of rights back on Nov. 3 ballot

By Bob Downing Published: September 18, 2015

The Ohio Supreme Court today voted that Yougstown's community bill of rights charter amendment be placed back on the Nov. 3 ballot.

Ohio Secretary of State jon Husted had ordered the charter proposal off the ballot.

Youngstown voters have rejected the proposal four times.

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DEP approves air plan for gas-fired power plant in Luzerne Co.

By Bob Downing Published: September 18, 2015

A press release from Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection on Thursday:

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Atlantic Coast seeks FERC approval for $5 billion pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: September 18, 2015

From a Dominion press release today:

Sep 18, 2015

RICHMOND, Va., Sept. 18, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC, today formally applied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for permission to build a 564-mile interstate natural gas transmission pipeline designed to meet the need for cleaner electricity generation, satisfy the growing demand for natural gas to heat homes and businesses, and promote consumer savings and economic growth.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is being asked to certify the public benefit and necessity of the project. The FERC and a number of participating agencies will examine fully a broad number of issues, including public safety, air quality, water resources, geology, soils, wildlife and vegetation, threatened and endangered species, land and visual resources, cultural and historic resources, noise, cumulative impacts and reasonable alternatives.

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Debt services requires rising share of oil drillers' cash flow

By Bob Downing Published: September 18, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration tiday:

Results from second-quarter 2015 financial statements of a number of U.S. companies with onshore oil operations suggest continued financial strain for some companies. Low oil prices have significantly reduced cash flow for U.S. oil producers, and to adjust to lower cash flows, companies have reduced capital expenditures and raised more cash from debt and equity.

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Tags: financial markets , liquid fuels , oil/petroleum , prices , production

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Antero Resources shifts water business to Antero Midstream

By Bob Downing Published: September 18, 2015

From Antero Resources today:

DENVER, Sept. 18, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Antero Resources Corporation (NYSE: AR) ("Antero Resources" or the "Company") announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement for Antero Midstream Partners LP (NYSE: AM) ("Antero Midstream" or the "Partnership") to acquire Antero Resources' integrated water business for an aggregate $1.05 billion in a combination of cash, assumed debt and Antero Midstream common units. In addition, Antero Resources is entitled to receive two potential $125 million earn-out payments at year-end 2019 and 2020 if certain fresh water volumetric delivery targets are met. The acquisition includes Antero Resources' fresh water delivery business, together with an exclusive right to provide fresh water for Antero Resources' well completion operations in West Virginia and Ohio, the to-be-constructed advanced wastewater treatment complex, and the exclusive right to provide fluid handling and disposal services for Antero Resources. The acquisition is expected to close on September 23, 2015, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including the consummation of the financing described below.

Transaction Details

In consideration for the acquisition, the Partnership has agreed to pay Antero Resources a cash distribution equal to $552 million, less any assumed debt, and issue 23,886,421 common units representing limited partner interests in the Partnership to Antero Resources.  Upon completion of the Partnerships' concurrent private placement of common units described below, the net proceeds will be paid to Antero Resources and the number of common units issuable to Antero Resources will be reduced by an equivalent number to that issued in the private placement. For tax purposes, Antero Resources elected to receive Antero Midstream units as a portion of the aggregate consideration. Pro forma for the transaction, Antero Resources' net debt to trailing twelve months EBITDA as of June 30, 2015 would have been reduced to 3.3x. On a consolidated basis, and pro forma for the transaction, Antero Resources would have had approximately $4.3 billion of liquidity as of June 30, 2015.

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U.S. drillers have used 250 billion gallons of water for fracking

By Bob Downing Published: September 18, 2015

From Duke University this week:

DURHAM, N.C. -- Energy companies used nearly 250 billion gallons of water to extract unconventional shale gas and oil from hydraulically fractured wells in the United States between 2005 and 2014, a new Duke University study finds.

During the same period, the fracked wells generated about 210 billion gallons of wastewater.

Large though those numbers seem, the study calculates that the water used in fracking makes up less than 1 percent of total industrial water use nationwide.

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Oil glut could result in cheap crude for 15 years, Goldman says

By Bob Downing Published: September 18, 2015

A worldwide crude oil glut could keep oil prices low for the next 15 years, says the Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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Texas judge drops drilling industry lawsuit against city of Denton

By Bob Downing Published: September 18, 2015

In Texas, the city of Denton no longer faces litigation from an industry group after the city repealed its drilling ban following the passage of a state law prohibiting cities and counties from regulating oil and gas production.

A North Texas district judge has agreed to dismiss the lawsuit filed by the Texas Oil & Gas Association at the request of both parties.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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Three plead guilty to North Dakota murder-for-hire slaying

By Bob Downing Published: September 18, 2015

From the Associated Press this week:

SPOKANE, Wash.: Three men have pleaded guilty in federal court in the murder-for-hire slaying of a Spokane businessman that arose from business dealings in the North Dakota oil patch.

The case involved the shooting death of Doug Carlile in his upscale Spokane home nearly two years ago.

On Wednesday, Timothy Suckow, Robert Delao and Lazaro Pesina changed their pleas to guilty on various charges in the case. Suckow admitted to being the gunman who shot Carlile in December 2013.

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Could Asian utilities be interested in Chesapeake's Utica holdings?

By Bob Downing Published: September 17, 2015

Rumors are growing that Oklahoma-based Chesapeake Energy Corp. is interested in selling much of its Utica acreage in Ohio and that Asian utilities might be interested buyers.

Chesapeake is trying to reduce its debt by $3.8 billion.

But the latest word is that the initial offers for its Ohio lease holdings are lower than the company had been seeking.

Click  here  to read a recent Bloomberg Business report.

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IPAA pleased by House committee vote on crude exports

By Bob Downing Published: September 17, 2015

From a press release today:

IPAA Welcomes House Committee Passage of Bipartisan Bill Allowing Crude Exports

 

WASHINGTON, D.C.– The Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) welcomed the passage of a bipartisan bill designed to lift outdated trade restrictions on United States crude oil, which the House Committee on Energy and Commerce approved today by a recorded vote of 31-19. IPAA has made lifting the decades-old restrictions on crude oil exports a top priority, according to IPAA President and CEO Barry Russell.

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Allied Progress cites oil money to House commitee members

By Bob Downing Published: September 17, 2015

From a press release today:

Allied Progress on House Energy and Commerce Committee Vote: Members “Bought and Paid for by Big Oil”

Members Who Voted to Lift Crude Oil Export Ban Have Taken $11.5 Million From the Oil and Gas Industry Throughout Congressional Careers

Washington, D.C.Today, the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted to lift the crude oil export ban, a critical 40-year old policy that blocks a majority of raw American crude oil from being exported to foreign countries. The measure will now go to the full House of Representatives for a vote expected later this month. Allied Progress, an organization that has led campaigns in several states urging lawmakers to oppose ending of the policy, released the following statement from executive director Karl Frisch slamming Members of the committee who voted to repeal the ban:

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Environment America unhappy with House crude export vote

By Bob Downing Published: September 17, 2015

From a press release today:

WASHINGTON, D.C. --  On the heels of the release of a new study showing that burning the world’s remaining fossil fuels would raise the level of the sea by more than 160 feet, a key U.S. House panel voted today to lift the longstanding ban on crude oil exports. Ending the decades-old ban could cause U.S. oil production to increase by up to 3.3 million barrels per day from 2015 through 2035 and create an additional 515 million metric tons of carbon pollution per year.
 
Environment America’s executive director Margie Alt released the following statement:
 
“We’re already experiencing dangerous impacts of global warming, from drought, to superstorms, to rising seas. Now scientists say that burning the world’s remaining oil, gas, and coal would melt the entire Antarctic ice sheet and put Miami, New Orleans, New York, and other vibrant coastal cities underwater.
 
“We need to keep more oil in the ground, not drill it, ship it and burn it while global warming passes the point of no return. Lifting the oil export ban would give the oil industry a windfall and plunge all of us deeper toward climate catastrophe. For the sake of our kids’ future, Congress should reject this terrible idea."

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House committee approves crude oil exports, industry pleased

By Bob Downing Published: September 17, 2015

From a press release today:

DALLAS - Today the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved HR 702, a bipartisan bill eliminating the 1970’s-era export ban on crude oil, which would lead the way to lower energy prices, increased energy supply, and be a boost to U.S. security, but the White House has announced its opposition to the measure.

The president who repeatedly oversteps his authority has this time understepped his authority by handing the crude oil export issue off to the Commerce Department," said Institute for Policy Innovation resident scholar Dr. Merrill Matthews, author of “The Case for Permitting Crude Oil Exports.”  "The clear implication is he wants to bury the effort at Commerce like he's buried the Keystone XL pipeline at the State Department.” 
 
Matthews also said the president who sees no problem letting Iran expand its exports should see no problem in letting his own country do the same.
 
“The OPEC-era crude oil export ban is outdated and counterproductive in an age of dramatically rising U.S. oil production, with the U.S. now being one of if not the largest producer of crude oil,” said Matthews. “President Obama's agreement with Iran will open the world’s markets to its crude oil exports while the U.S. remains in an export freeze.”

 
Matthews explores in his paper, “The Case for Permitting Crude Oil Exports,” the numerous benefits of permitting crude oil exports, including:


“What’s in the best interest of the U.S. is a healthy energy sector and efficient markets, where the price is a reflection of undistorted supply and demand,” said Matthews. “For 40 years, the U.S. economy and foreign policy have been constrained by politically repressive, oil-producing countries. That day could be coming to an end if we have the ability to export oil.”
 

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U.S. EPA hails Ohio's injection well program for drilling wastewater

By Bob Downing Published: September 17, 2015

COLUMBUS, OH – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) recently released a report on Ohio’s Class II Underground Injection Control (UIC) program and found that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) regulatory program is of “good quality” and continues to provide strong protections for Ohio’s underground sources of drinking water (USDW).

“We appreciate the efforts of the U.S. EPA in reviewing our program and are pleased that they found what we have long believed, that Ohio has a regulatory structure that is effective and providing the necessary protections for our citizens and the environment,” said ODNR Director James Zehringer. “The report shows that our extensive investment in the Class II program has enhanced protections for Ohioans, the environment and our underground drinking water resources, but there is always room for improvement so we will continue work to strengthen those protections.”

ODNR is among the first states in the nation that has the authority to require seismic monitoring at Class II injection wells and a leader in national conversations on induced seismicity. As oil and natural gas production continues to set records in Ohio, ODNR is committed to exceeding federal expectations and regulations to ensure that brine is properly disposed of in a manner that ensures the protection of our groundwater and natural resources.

“Ohio is at the forefront of regulating Class II injection wells and is continuously advancing regulations of the UIC program,” said Groundwater Protection Council Executive Director Mike Paque. “ODNR’s ongoing efforts provide the necessary protections to help ensure that Ohio’s underground drinking water resources are safe.” 

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Both sides claim win in Ohio Supreme Court ruling

By Bob Downing Published: September 16, 2015

The Ohio Supreme Court on Wednesday  voted 6-1 to back Secretary of State Jon Husted who had invalidated county charter proposals with community bill of rights on the Nov. 3 ballot in Medina, Athens and Fulton counties.
But the issues are likely to be returning to the ballot in 2016 because the state high court also ruled that Husted does not have the discretion to assess the legality of such community rights charters and cannot block such votes.
“That is huge,” said spokeswoman Tish O’Dell of Broadview Heights, Ohio organizer for the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund that had assisted in the petition drives.
The high court cited another valid reason cited by Husted to block the measures. The justices said the fact that the issues failed to satisfy threshold requirements for legal charter initiatives was sufficient to keep them off the ballot.
Grass-root groups in Ohio will likely circulate new petitions that will comply with the high court’s edict and resubmit them next year, O’Dell said.
The industry was also claiming victory after the three county charter votes were blocked by the high court.
“The Ohio Supreme Court affirmed the fact that the Pennsylvania-based Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund’s ballot measures are invalid,” said Jackie Stewart of Energy in Depth-Ohio, a pro-drilling industry group.
“Ohio’s highest court stood up with statewide groups that represent hundreds of thousands of taxpayers, job-creators, laborers, and elected officials who together constitute a significant cross-section of the Buckeye State. The out-of-state group behind these costly and invalid ballot measures is nothing more than a loose coalition of activists who continue to be rejected by the folks who live and work here,” she said.
Said Husted in a statement: "In this and every decision we make, we seek to follow the law and the constitution and the court's ruling today is affirmation that we made the right choice.

"As I have stated previously, this course of action is not the appropriate path to seek change on this issue. If advocates of these local proposals truly want to effect change, they should use the legislative process available to them and either work with their representatives in the Ohio General Assembly or propose a statewide initiated statute."

The main decision was supported by Justices Maureen O’Connor, Terrence O’Donnell, Judith Ann Lanzinger, Sharon Kennedy and Judith French.  Justice Paul Pfeiffer concurred with the decision only.
Justice William O’Neill disagreed.
Residents of Medina, Athens and Fulton counties had signed petitions to get the votes on the Nov. 3 ballot to fight back against natural gas pipelines, injection wells and other aspects of shale drilling.
The proposed community bill of rights had been approved for the ballot by county commissioners and the local county boards of election.
On Aug. 13, Husted ordered the three issues off the ballot.

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Ohio Supreme Court backs Husted in county charter votes

By Bob Downing Published: September 16, 2015

From the Associated Press today:

Residents in three Ohio counties where Secretary of State Jon Husted invalidated anti-fracking ballot issues have lost a lawsuit before the Ohio Supreme Court.

Justices said in a 6-1 decision today that Husted didn’t have the discretion to assess the legality of “community rights charters” offered in Medina, Fulton and Athens counties, but he had another valid reason to toss the measures.

The charters effectively would have banned the gas-drilling technique of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, by restricting all related development projects. Husted said that unconstitutionally circumvented state fracking law that had already been litigated. The court said the move was outside Husted’s authority.

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Ohio well fire will result in $223,000 fine against Statoil

By Bob Downing Published: September 16, 2015

From the Associated Press today:

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A fire at a natural gas fracking well that forced evacuations and killed thousands of fish in eastern Ohio last summer will result in fines of about $223,000 against an international oil and gas company.
Environmental regulators announced the fines against Norway-based Statoil on Tuesday. The fines are being assessed for the loss of aquatic species, spill cleanup and water quality violations from the well-pad fire in June 2014, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Natural Resources said. They say the company operated the well in Monroe County and can resume fracking there after it pays the fines.
A message left Wednesday at the company’s North America office in Houston wasn’t immediately returned.
The Department of Natural Resources found that fluids left the well pad in violation of state law and the company failed to maintain operational control on it. The agency also said the company disposed of brine fluid used in fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, in an unapproved method.
Investigators confirmed that the fluids from the well pad depleted oxygen levels in a nearby creek, where about 70,000 fish died, according to the statement.
Teresa Mills, an Ohio organizer with the Center for Health, Environment and Justice, told The Columbus Dispatch that the fines were “a slap on the wrist.”
Authorities have said that a tubing malfunction led to the fire that spread to about 20 trucks on the pad. No injuries were reported.

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Group applauds Obama opposition to crude export ban repeal

By Bob Downing Published: September 16, 2015

From a Tuesday press release:

Allied Progress Applauds White House Opposition to Crude Oil Export Ban Repeal Effort in Congress

“We applaud President Obama for standing with the vast majority of Americans in opposing big oil’s effort to repeal this critical policy.”

WASHINGTON, D.C.Today, White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that President Barack Obama opposes Congressional efforts backed by the oil and gas industry to lift the crude oil export ban, a critical 40-year old policy that blocks a majority of raw American crude oil from being exported to foreign countries. Following the news, Allied Progress released the following statement from its executive director, Karl Frisch:

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Keep It In the Ground Coalition takes aim at Jewell

By Bob Downing Published: September 16, 2015

From a press release today:

Response to Sec. of the Interior Jewell from Keep it in the Ground Coalition

 

“Secretary Jewell's echoing of American Coal Council talking points made it clear that she is part of the climate problem. Instead of making excuses for fossil fuel companies, she should be kicking them off our public lands and waters. It's really disappointing to see Secretary Jewell echoing industry talking points to defend fossil fuel extraction.  If she were serious about fighting global warming, she would use all the power under her discretion to keep fossil fuels in the ground. Unfortunately, she just seems disconnected from the science and reality of climate change.” –Erich Pica, President, Friends of the Earth

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R Street Institute says fracking benefits outweigh risks

By Bob Downing Published: September 16, 2015

From a press release today:

WASHINGTON (Sept. 16. 2015) – A review of the literature on commonly cited environmental hazards of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," demonstrates that the process' economic benefits far outweigh the risks, according to a new policy brief published today by the R Street Institute.

In the brief, R Street Texas Director Josiah Neeley examines the substantial economic impact of fracking, which has led to declines in residential natural-gas bills of $13 billion per year and contributed $283 billion to U.S. gross domestic product in 2012 alone. He also looks at studies of fracking's potential impact on the climate, emissions, air quality and water quality and availability.

"Every source of energy has its advantages and drawbacks," Neeley writes. "Fracked natural gas has supplanted significant amounts of coal electricity, delivering low-cost electricity with half the levels of greenhouse-gas emissions."

Neeley finds that reported cases of fracking actually having negative impacts on air and water quality are rare and inconsistent, and pose less significant threats than exposure to high levels of ozone, particulates and other emissions from more emissions-intensive fuel sources.

"While fracking can pose environmental challenges, these can be managed via appropriate regulation and oversight," he said.

 

About the R Street Institute

R Street is a non-profit public policy research organization that supports free markets; limited, effective government; and responsible environmental stewardship. It has headquarters in Washington, D.C. and five regional offices across the country, Ohio. Its website is www.rstreet.org.

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Ohio company gets $34 million contract for 39 compressors

By Bob Downing Published: September 16, 2015

From a Tuesday press release:

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Dominion awards $1.5 million in educational grants

By Bob Downing Published: September 16, 2015

From Dominion today:

RICHMOND, Va., Sept. 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- From outdoor learning gardens to solar-powered cooling systems, this year's Dominion educational grants will help fund a wide variety of programs engaging students of all ages in science, technology, engineering and math studies related to energy, the environment and workforce development.

For the 2015-16 academic year, more than 140 schools and educational institutions in 11 states and the District of Columbia will share grants totaling $1.5 million from the Dominion Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Dominion Resources.

"This year's grants will support innovative programs teaching essential skills to young children as well as young adults," said Hunter A. Applewhite, president of the Dominion Foundation. "There is a huge demand for STEM skills in today's workplace and these marketable skills will be critical to the success of the energy industry, as well as our nation's economy, for many years to come."

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New owner has little interest in waterless fracking

By Bob Downing Published: September 16, 2015

Waterless fracking in Ohio is dead -- at least for now.

The company that had planned to frack wells with propane instead of water has been acquired by another company and it has no plans to proceed with those plans, according to a Canadian publication.

GasFracEnergy Services Inc. ran into financial problems and was acquired last spring by STEP Energy Services.

Both companies are based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

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API urges administration to reconsider crude export position

By Bob Downing Published: September 16, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday:

WASHINGTON, September 15, 2015 – API urged the administration to reconsider its position, as outlined by a White House spokesman today, that Congress should leave crude oil export decisions to the Commerce Department.
    
“The administration has an opportunity to demonstrate leadership by opening the door to U.S. exports, creating new jobs, helping American families, and strengthening America’s position as an energy superpower,” said API President and CEO Jack Gerard. “Lawmakers are right to ask why U.S. producers shouldn’t have the same access to global markets that the administration would give Iran. 
   
“Failing to lift the 1970s-era ban on crude oil exports could throw away a major opportunity to build U.S. energy security and generate significant savings for consumers, according to numerous major economic analysis -- including the administration’s own report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Exports also strengthen the security of our allies by providing an alternative to imports from hostile nations.
  
“Fortunately, bipartisan support in the House and Senate continue to grow, and we’re optimistic that legislators will continue to make this issue a top priority in the days ahead.”
      
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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Ohio has 1,588 drilled Utica wells, 1,006 producing Utica wells

By Bob Downing Published: September 16, 2015

Ohio has approved 2,005 Utica Shale permits, as of Sept. 12.

That total includes 1,588 drilled Utica wells and 1,006 producing Utica wells ,the Ohio Department of Natural Resources reported.

Ohio has 21 rigs at work in the eastern Ohio.

Five new permits were approved:one in Belmont County and four in Monroe County.

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EnLink Midstream acquires Texas assets for $143 million

By Bob Downing Published: September 15, 2015

From a press release today:

 

EnLink Midstream SIGNS DEFINITIVE AGREEMENT TO

ACQUIRE Delaware Basin Assets                                        

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Signups extended for Utica Marcellus Texas Pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: September 15, 2015

Kinder Morgan, Inc. (NYSE: KMI) today announced it will extend its current binding open season to review shipper comments and interest received to date, as well as continue to seek commitments for the proposed Utica Marcellus Texas Pipeline (UMTP) project, which would transport natural gas liquids and condensate produced from the Utica and Marcellus basins to delivery points along the Texas Gulf Coast, including connectivity to a Kinder Morgan dock located along the Houston Ship Channel. The binding open season scheduled to end today will now end at 5 p.m. Central Time on Dec. 15, 2015.

“We continue to receive strong interest from shippers for this opportunity to transport products from the Utica and Marcellus basins to the Gulf Coast,” said Don Lindley, president of KMI’s Natural Gas Liquids (NGL), Products Pipelines. “This extension allows Kinder Morgan to align our transportation solution with shipper interests based on the feedback we’ve received on the project.”

The proposed project would involve the abandonment and conversion of 964 miles of natural gas service on KMI’s existing Tennessee Gas Pipeline, the construction of approximately 200 miles of new pipeline from Louisiana to Texas, new storage in Ohio and 120 miles of new laterals to provide basin connectivity.

The approximately $4 billion UMTP project will be designed to transport propane, butanes, natural gasoline, y-grade and condensate in batches along the system, with a maximum design capacity of 430,000 barrels per day. Subject to shipper commitments and timely regulatory approvals, the pipeline will be in service by the fourth quarter of 2018.

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U.S. economy, auto sales boost growth in gasoline use

By Bob Downing Published: September 15, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Adminstration today:

U.S. motor gasoline product supplied, a proxy for gasoline use in the United States, has been rising after reaching an 11-year low in 2012. Although lower gasoline prices have been an important factor in the increase in gasoline use so far in 2015, changes in the labor market and in the vehicle sales mix over the past few years also have contributed to the rise in gasoline use.

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Tags: consumption , gasoline , light-duty vehicles , transportation

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Ohio legislators, industry huddle on new severance tax

By Bob Downing Published: September 15, 2015

Ohio leaders could announce a new severance tax plan by the end of the month, says WKSU-FM.

State leaders have been meeting privately with the key industry figures.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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California requires at least two crew members to run trains

By Bob Downing Published: September 15, 2015

California Gov. Edmund Brown Jr. last week signed a bill that requires trains and light engines in the state to be operated by a minimum of two qualified crew members.

The legislation — which was introduced by Sen. Lois Wolk (D-Davis) — prohibits a freight train or light engine from being operated in the state with a crew of less than two individuals, beginning Feb. 1, 2016.

The law also authorizes the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to assess civil penalties for any violations.

California joins several states that have imposed similar rules. Fourteen other states are mulling such proposals to boost rail safety.

Click  here  to read more.

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Climate coalition urges Obama to halt federal fossil fuel leases

By Bob Downing Published: September 15, 2015

From a coalition of eco-groups:

Massive Climate Coalition Calls on President Obama to Halt Fossil Fuel Leasing on Public Lands, Oceans

 

Hundreds of Organizations, Leaders Mobilize to Keep Publicly Owned Oil, Gas, Coal—and half of the potential emissions from all remaining U.S. fossil fuels—in the Ground

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Sage-grouse's future hinges on politics, management plan

By Bob Downing Published: September 15, 2015

From the American Bird Conservancy:

 

(Washington, D.C., September 8, 2015) By the end of this month federal authorities will make historic decisions that may dramatically change the landscape of the American West: whether to list the Greater Sage-Grouse under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) or to rely on management plans that are currently too weak to save the iconic bird.

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Fossil Fuel Free Challenge from Sept. 28 to Oct. 2

By Bob Downing Published: September 15, 2015

DENVER – Discover what life is like without fossil fuels by taking the Fossil Fuel Free Challenge, organized by Western Energy Alliance. Fossil Fuel Free week will be September 28th – October 2nd. Learn more and pledge to take the Challenge at www.FFFChallenge.com.

This is the chance to attempt the lifestyle environmentalists and policymakers promote through protests, social media activism and overreaching regulations. During the Fossil Fuel Free week, individuals are challenged to live without the benefits of fossil fuels.

“There’s a growing group of people who want to completely eliminate fossil fuel consumption as their way of protecting the environment. This year we’ve seen this in the form of divestment rallies, kayak protests and activists dangling from bridges. Meanwhile the government is implementing unprecedented new regulations to squeeze out production,” said Tim Wigley, president of the Alliance. “This challenge is a way to experience the lifestyle those groups promote to the fullest.”

“Fossil fuels permeate our lives. Our campaign provides us the opportunity to show those who oppose responsible oil and natural gas development that they would be poorer, sicker, less educated, colder in winter, and hotter in summer while generally leading a dull and deprived life. But for anyone who thinks life is better without fossil fuels, then we challenge you to go one week without them,” added Wigley. 

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Engelder to speak on Sept. 16 at Youngstown State

By Bob Downing Published: September 14, 2015

Penn State University professor Terry Engelder will speak at 7 p.m. Sept. 16 at Youngstown State University.

He is an expert on the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania and a professor of geosciences.

His talk will be held in Cushwa Hall's Room B100.

The lecture is free and open to the public. There is free on-street parking after 5 p.m. at the metered parking spaces along Lincoln Avenue and nearby streets.

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API touts economic importance of offshore exploration

By Bob Downing Published: September 14, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute today:

WASHINGTON, September 14, 2015 – Ahead of tomorrow’s congressional hearing in New Orleans, API highlighted the importance of offshore oil and natural gas development to the region’s economic development.

“The oil and natural gas industry supports hundreds of thousands of Gulf Coast jobs,” said Erik Milito, API upstream group director. “Offshore energy has driven Louisiana’s economy for generations, and building on that growth requires a regulatory approach that embraces safe, responsible development.”

API recently issued a request that the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) arrange workshops with each of the eight industry workgroups involved with analyzing respective sections of BSEE’s proposed well control rule in order to address fundamental technical and economic flaws in the proposal that could increase risks to people and the environment.

“We are committed to working with government officials to ensure that America’s offshore energy development is the safest in the world,” said Milito. “Industry standards and smart regulatory oversight are key to our success, but the well control rule, as proposed, does not meet this commitment and could ultimately reverse existing improvements to offshore safety.”

Further exploration and production of offshore oil and natural gas in the U.S. Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), the U.S. Pacific OCS and the Eastern Gulf of Mexico could create hundreds of thousands of jobs, boost U.S. energy security, increase domestic investment and grow government revenue, according to recent studies.  

API represents all segments of America’s oil and natural gas industry. Its more than 625 members produce, process, and distribute most of the nation’s energy. The industry also supports 9.8 million U.S. jobs and 8 percent of the U.S. economy.

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U.S. oil, natural gas rigs drop by 16, Baker Hughes says

By Bob Downing Published: September 14, 2015

The number of natural gas and oil rigs in the United Stated dropped by 16 last week, Baker Hughes, the Texas-based well-services company, reports.

That includes 652 oil rigs and 196 gas rigs.

The total is 1,083 lower than a year ago.

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Rice Energy donates $600,000 to first responders in Ohio, Pa.

By Bob Downing Published: September 14, 2015

From Rice Energy last week:

CANONSBURG, Pa., Sept. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Rice Energy Inc. (NYSE: RICE) ("Rice Energy") is pleased to announce its annual fundraising event has raised more than $600,000 for 36 local first responders in southwestern Pennsylvania and southeastern Ohio.

Rice Energy's annual community festival, affectionately dubbed "Marcellus Mania," has become one of the largest community beneficiary events in the Appalachian Region. Since 2012, Marcellus Mania has raised more than $1.2 million in donations from Rice Energy's vendors and contractors for the benefit of local first responders, including local volunteer fire departments, emergency medical services, regional safety organizations and police departments. On August 29, 2015, over 4,300 people attended Marcellus Mania 2015 at the Washington County Fairgrounds in Washington, PA where Rice Energy announced this year's record setting donation.

Toby Rice, Rice Energy's President and Chief Operating Officer, commented, "At Rice Energy, being good stewards of the land extends beyond executing safe and responsible development of our wellsites. The donations we provide to the local first responders affords these organizations the ability to upgrade their equipment and improve the general wellbeing and safety of the communities where we do business. On behalf of the 350 full-time Rice Energy employees that call Appalachia home, we believe that making our communities safer is the right thing to do, and as Rice Energy continues to grow, we intend to continue playing an instrumental role in ensuring these local communities stay safe."

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Sunoco Logistics opens signups for Mariner East 2 pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: September 14, 2015

From Sunoco Logistics Partners last week:

PHILADELPHIA, September 10, 2015 – Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P. (NYSE: SXL) today
announced the commencement of a binding Open Season for its Mariner East 2 Expansion Project. This
Open Season is for expanded capacity on the Mariner East 2 system which will be able to transport
additional volumes of petroleum products, including natural gas liquids and condensate from processing
facilities built in the liquid-rich Marcellus and Utica Shale areas in Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia
and Eastern Ohio to Sunoco Logistics’ Marcus Hook Industrial Complex on the Delaware River. The
Open Season offers service for ethane, propane, butane, C3+, natural gasoline and condensate depending
upon customer interest. Refined product movements will be considered if there is sufficient customer
interest. The Mariner East 2 Expansion Project is expected to commence operations as early as 2017.
Subject to the terms of the Open Season, priority service will be available to shippers making longterm
volume commitments during the Open Season. The Notice of Open Season is available on the
Sunoco Logistics website at www.sunocologistics.com/Mariner-East-2X.
More information about this Open Season is available by contacting:
Rich Billman
Senior Director, Business Development
215-246-8432
ME2X@sunocologistics.com
ABOUT SUNOCO LOGISTICS
Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P. (NYSE: SXL), headquartered in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, is a
master limited partnership that owns and operates a logistics business consisting of a geographically
diverse portfolio of complementary crude oil, refined products, and natural gas liquids pipeline,
terminalling, and acquisition and marketing assets which are used to facilitate the purchase and sale of
crude oil, refined products, and natural gas liquids. SXL’s general partner is a consolidated subsidiary of
Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. (NYSE: ETP). For more information, visit the Sunoco Logistics Partners
L.P. web site at www.sunocologistics.com.
###

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14,800 schools in danger along crude railroad routes, group says

By Bob Downing Published: September 14, 2015

From ForestEthics last week:

14,800 Schools, 5.7 Million Students in the Oil Train Blast Zone: ForestEthics Calculates Nationwide Threat from Crude Oil Trains

[Bellingham, WA] Public interest group ForestEthics released estimates of the number of U.S. schools and students in the oil train blast zone, the one-mile evacuation area in the event of an oil train derailment and fire. In June 2014 ForestEthics released the Blast Zone map tool, which uses rail industry data and Google maps to allow users to see where any address in the U.S. or Canada is in relation to oil train routes, including schools.

Estimates released today are based on the Blast Zone map and K-12 public and private school location and population data from the Department of Education:

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Sage-grouse areas function as interdependent network

By Bob Downing Published: September 14, 2015

From the U.S. Geological Survey last week:

Eleven western states and federal management agencies within the greater sage-grouse range have developed conservation plans that embrace the concept of priority areas – also referred to as Priority Areas for Conservation or PACs by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Priority areas are key habitats identified as having the highest number of greater sage-grouse and the resources of greatest benefit to the species. Priority areas were designed to balance the needs of sage-grouse with activities such as energy development by focusing conservation activities and regulating development in these areas.

“The development of the priority areas may represent one of the largest experiments in conservation reserve design for a single species,” said Michele Crist, USGS wildlife biologist and lead author of a new USGS Open-File Report. “We have an opportunity to understand the potential for these areas to function as a connected network to conserve greater sage-grouse populations.”

The researchers ranked the relative importance of all the priority areas using social network theory, centrality metrics, sage-grouse ecological minimums, and a range-wide map created by combining the priority area boundaries as delineated by the 11 western states within the sage-grouse range – Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, North Dakota and South Dakota.

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Hull & Associates opening new Texas office in Austin

By Bob Downing Published: September 14, 2015

From Hull & Assocaites with five Ohio offices today:

NEWS RELEASE
6397 Emerald Parkway, Suite 200
Dublin, Ohio 43016
Phone: (614) 793-8777 Fax: (614) 793-9070
September 14, 2015

HULL ANNOUNCES NEW OFFICE IN AUSTIN, TEXAS
AUSTIN, Texas — Hull & Associates, Inc., an industry leader in project development,
energy, and environmental consulting, has opened a new office in Austin, Texas.
HULL Chief Executive Officer Craig Kasper cited increasing opportunities for corporate
growth and expansion in the region, and proximity to key shale oil and gas clients as
significant factors in the strategic decision to open an Austin office. Lance Turley, a
principal and senior project manager with HULL for more than 28 years, will manage the
new office.
“Opening an office in Austin positions HULL strategically to service our current and
prospective clients in the shale oil and gas industry, and also gives us the ability to create
and develop regional projects in our brownfields, environmental, waste management and
alternative energy markets,” Kasper said. “We’ve had previous experience in this market,
and we closely studied current industry growth in Texas for more than a year before
arriving at this decision. It was extremely important for us as a company to ensure that we
located an office in the region that is fully capable of servicing all of our markets and
clients. We believe we’ve made a sound decision in locating in Austin, and we’re excited to
be back in Texas and a part of this community.”
The new office is located at 126 Margaret Circle, Austin, Texas 78737. The main office
number is (800) 241-7173 and the fax number is (614) 793-9070. Lance Turley, PG, can
be contacted locally at the office, or by email at lturley@hullinc.com.
Hull & Associates, Inc. is an industry leader in project development, energy, and
environmental consulting. HULL's focus is to provide innovative, value-added
services to many pressing and complex challenges in the alternative energy,
brownfields, environmental, shale oil and gas, and waste management markets.

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Ohio counties suing Husted turn to CrowdDefend for help

By Bob Downing Published: September 14, 2015

From California-based CrowdDefend on Friday:

As you probably know, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted recently blocked citizens from voting on Home Rule Charter initiatives which include provisions on fracking infrastructure development. In response to Husted’s decision, the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) has filed a lawsuit against the Ohio Secretary of State on behalf of community members in three counties seeking to restore the initiatives to the November ballot. The complaint cites Article X, Section 3, of the Ohio Constitution which codifies the right of the people to vote on local Charter initiatives.

Like many other communities across the country, Ohio communities are being inundated by fracking infrastructure projects – such as frack wastewater injection wells and pipelines. Injection wells have been tied to earthquakes in Ohio, global warming, and poor water quality. In communities where fracking is noticeably impacting the quality of life citizens are growing increasingly frustrated.

Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) is using CrowdDefend to crowdfund for legal costs associated with this lawsuit. The funds raised will be used to help advance the lawsuit, and ultimately elevate the right of communities to say “no” to fracking, over the rights of corporation and our own government to force fracking into communities.

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New study looks at water quality in Marcellus, Utica areas

By Bob Downing Published: September 14, 2015

From Pennsylvania's Energy in Depth office and staffer Joe Massaro:

A new study, which can boast of having one of the most comprehensive water quality datasets in the Appalachian basin prior to Marcellus and Utica shale development, was recently released in the journal, Applied Geochemistry.

The study, led by Don Siegel of Syracuse University, analyzed over 21,000 samples of groundwater collected by third party contractors from individual domestic or stock water-supply wells before Chesapeake Energy Corporation drilled nearby Marcellus and Utica shale oil and gas wells. According to the study’s summary:

“Our comparison of these results to historical groundwater data from NE Pennsylvania, which pre-dates most unconventional shale gas development, shows that the recent pre-drilling geochemical data is similar to historical data. We see no broad changes in variability of chemical quality in this large dataset to suggest any unusual salinization caused by possible release of produced waters from oil and gas operations, even after thousands of gas wells have been drilled among tens of thousands of domestic wells within the two areas studied.

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Shale drilling's impact on Ohio forests is part of farm review

By Bob Downing Published: September 14, 2015

From Ohio State University:

LONDON, Ohio — Shale drilling’s biggest effect on Ohio’s environment might not come from the wells themselves but from the many new pipelines they need.

So says watershed expert Joe Bonnell of The Ohio State University, who will speak twice on his research looking into the Ohio shale industry’s environmental impacts at the Sept. 22-24 Farm Science Review trade show in London, Ohio.

While the risk of drinking water well contamination from one of the industry’s methods, hydraulic fracturing, has gotten lots of attention, there’s a lack of comprehensive data on how rare or common such cases actually are, said Bonnell, who is watershed management program director for the university’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

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CORN plans family corn maze fund-raiser on Sept. 20

By Bob Downing Published: September 14, 2015

The Coalition to Reroute Nexus is holding a corn maze fund-raising event on Sept. 20 in Medina County.  
It will be staged from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Beriswill Farms, 2200 Station Road, outside Valley City in Liverpool Township.
There will be family games and maze fun from 2 to 3:30 p.m., food at 3:30 p.m. and a meeting against the Nexus Pipeline route from 4 to 5 p.m.
Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for children. Youngsters under 3 are free. Admission includes corn chowder, chili, hot dogs and more. There will also be a 50-50 raffle.
Go to www.beriswillfarms.com for directions.  You can prepay on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MedinaNoNexus.
For reservations, call 216-401-4957.

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McClendon, Murray legal fight over American Energy name ends

By Bob Downing Published: September 11, 2015

A federal judge in Ohio on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit filed againsy Aubrey McClendon's American Energy Partners by Ohio-based American Energy Corp.

The suit was filed in 2013 by the Ohio company that is a owned by Robert Murray, president of Murray Energy Corp..

He claimed that McClendon's company infringed on the name of his company that operates a coal mine in Ohio's Monroe County.

Here is the statement relased yesterday by McClendon's company:

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Utica, Marcellus natural gas to be shipped to Texas LNG plant

By Bob Downing Published: September 11, 2015

From a Thursday press release:

Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America LLC (NGPL) today announced an agreement with Corpus Christi Liquefaction, LLC, a subsidiary of Cheniere Energy, Inc., to provide the Corpus Christi Liquefaction Project with 385,000 dekatherms per day of southbound natural gas transportation capacity on NGPL’s expanded Gulf Coast mainline system for a 20-year term.

NGPL expects to invest approximately $212 million in facilities to enable it to complete the first phase of its Gulf Coast Market Expansion Project, which will increase NGPL’s total southbound capacity from multiple receipt points, including the Rockies Express Pipeline (REX) interconnection at Moultrie, Illinois, to existing and growing markets along Texas and the Louisiana Gulf Coast.

“We are pleased to move forward with this project as gas production increases in the Utica and Marcellus shale and markets continue to grow along the Gulf Coast,” said NGPL President David Devine. “Additionally, we are delighted to provide transportation for Cheniere to bring attractively-priced supply to their LNG export facility being developed near Corpus Christi, Texas.”

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Ohio groups support Husted, oppose CELDF's charter vote efforts

By Bob Downing Published: September 11, 2015

From Energy in Deprth-Ohio in a blog post by Jackie Stewart:

To this end, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the County Commissioners Association of Ohio, the Affiliated Construction Trades (ACT) of Ohio, and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation came together to express their unwavering support for Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s decision that county “ban fracking” charter amendments should not be permitted on the ballot this fall.

As a reminder, Secretary Husted recently emphasized that these ballot measures are inviolation of provisions of statutory and Ohio constitutional law.” After Secretary Husted deemed these measures unconstitutional, CELDF’s own Tish O’Dell  filed a complaint demanding that the court overturn his decision.  O’Dell’s complaint alleged that Husted overstepped his authority by upholding protests submitted to his office against the county charter petitions.  O’Dell claims that the Ohio constitution and case law stipulate that local ballot proposals cannot be withdrawn based on their content or substance. The complaint is now being considered in the Ohio Supreme Court.

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Natural gas use features two seasonal peaks per year, EIA says

By Bob Downing Published: September 11, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

Use of natural gas has two seasonal peaks, with consumption patterns predominantly driven by weather. The largest peak occurs during the winter, when cold weather increases the demand for natural gas space heating in the residential and commercial sectors. A second, smaller peak occurs in the summer when air conditioning use increases demand for electric power, an increasing portion of which is provided by natural gas-fired generators.

Read More ›

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Gulfport Energy announces borrowing base, addiitional Utica acreage

By Bob Downing Published: September 11, 2015

From a press release earlier this week:

OKLAHOMA CITY, Sept. 8, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Gulfport Energy Corporation (NASDAQ:GPOR) ("Gulfport" or the "Company") today announced a proposed increase to the Company's borrowing base and the completion of its previously announced acquisition of Paloma Partners III, LLC ("Paloma").

Fall Bank Redetermination

The Bank of Nova Scotia, as Sole Lead Arranger and Administrative Agent of our credit facility, as part of the regular fall 2015 borrowing base redetermination process, will be recommending to the lending syndicate an increase of the borrowing base from $575 million to $700 million. Gulfport expects final approval of the borrowing base increase by the bank syndicate to be completed within the next 30 days. On June 30, 2015, Gulfport's revolving credit facility was undrawn with outstanding letters of credit totaling $92.7 million. Pro forma for the proposed increase to the Company's borrowing base, Gulfport would have approximately $607.3 million of availability under its revolving credit facility.

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Rex Energy Corp. gets re-affirmed $350 million borrowing base

By Bob Downing Published: September 11, 2015

From a press release earlier this week:

STATE COLLEGE, Pa., Sept. 09, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Rex Energy Corporation (Nasdaq:REXX) (the "company") announced that its bank group has reaffirmed the existing $350 million borrowing base under the company's senior secured credit facility. Under the terms of the credit agreement, the bank group re-determines the borrowing base semi-annually utilizing the bank's estimates of reserves and future oil and gas prices. In addition, the bank group approved an amendment to the credit agreement which, among other things, allows the company to repurchase up to $25 million of Rex Energy common stock or senior unsecured notes, subject to certain terms and conditions.

"We appreciate the support of our bank group as we continue to navigate through the challenging price environment," said Tom Stabley, Rex Energy's President and Chief Executive Officer. "Preserving our liquidity and flexibility is a key component of our strategy. We continue to pursue strategic transactions to further reduce our capital expenditure budget, increase overall liquidity, and hold by production the company's core position in the Appalachian Basin."

About Rex Energy Corporation

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McClendon reportedly buys 55 million acres in northern Australia

By Bob Downing Published: September 11, 2015

Aubrey McClendon's American Energy Partners has reportedly signed four deals to buy 55 million acres in Australia's Northern Territory for drilling.

The Oklahoma-based energy company is seeking an additional 10 million acres in northern Australia.

McClendon is the former CEO of Cheaspeake Energy and a key player in Ohio's Utica Shale. His Ascent Resources is actively involved in Ohio drilling.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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Pennsylvania DEP delays decisions on deep injection wells

By Bob Downing Published: September 11, 2015

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has delayed decisions on controversial deep injection well permits, while waiting for rulings from the federal courts.

The siting of the deep injection wells became federal cases after local municipalities passed ordinances to ban the drilling waste disposal wells.

It’s the first time DEP has taken such a position and this move has both injection well opponents and industry lawyers criticizing the agency for shirking its responsibility.

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

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Louisiana LNG plant will significantly change U.S. energy picture

By Bob Downing Published: September 11, 2015

Texas-based Cheniere Energy has spent $20 billion to build the Sabine Pass LNG terminal on the Texas-Louisiana border.

The complex, scheduled to begin operations later this year, will significantly change the energy picture in the United States by boostng LNG exports.

The new plant will handle 700 million cubic feet of natural gas per day from Ohio and other shale-drilling areas.

Click  here  to read the Bloomberg Business look at the plant and its potential.

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Consortium to begin engineering, design for Ohio cracker plant

By Bob Downing Published: September 11, 2015

From a press release earlier this week:

A consortium of Bechtel, JGC America and Samsung Engineering America has been selected by PTT GC America to perform front-end engineering and design for a new petrochemical complex in Belmont County, Ohio. The facility will use ethane extracted from the Marcellus and Utica Shale formations to produce ethylene, high-density polyethylene, high-purity ethylene oxide, and mono-ethylene glycol. 

“This is an exciting project that will bring jobs and economic development to the region,” said Jack Futcher, president of Bechtel’s Oil, Gas and Chemicals business unit. “Our team is looking forward to working with PTT GC to deliver the most efficient design for a world-class facility applying our extensive project delivery experience.”

Bechtel has been executing major petrochemical projects for more than 60 years, including signature projects like Borouge Petrochemical Complex in Abu Dhabi, CSPC Nanhai in China, and LP-7 in Canada. The company is currently building an ethylene plant in Baytown, Texas

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Ohio tops 2,000 Utica Shale permits with 1,004 Utica wells producing

By Bob Downing Published: September 11, 2015

Ohio has finally topped 2,000 Utica Shale permits.

As of Sept. 5, Ohio has issued 2,002 permits, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources says.

Of that total, 1,588 Utica wells have been drilled and 1,004 Utica wells are in production.

Ohio has 21 drilling rigs at work.

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Chesapeake finalizes Utica gas-gathering agreement with Williams

By Bob Downing Published: September 8, 2015

From Chesapeake Energy today:

OKLAHOMA CITY--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sep. 8, 2015-- Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) today announced it has finalized new gas gathering agreements with the Williams Companies (NYSE:WMB) in its Haynesville Shale operating area located in northwest Louisiana and its dry gas Utica Shale operating area located in eastern Ohio. Key attributes include:

Doug Lawler, Chesapeake’s Chief Executive Officer, commented, “Chesapeake’s operating efficiencies across the entire portfolio over the last two years have resulted in lower costs, higher production rates and higher recovery rates. Our improved performance in the Haynesville is the primary reason that we were able to negotiate new gathering rates. These agreements will result in lower gathering rates and lower differentials, making these assets even more competitive within our portfolio. In this capital constrained environment, we will benefit from these higher-return assets and expect to allocate incremental capital to these areas, while enabling Williams to more fully utilize its gathering systems. The commercial solution these new contracts provide will only enhance what we have already achieved with our operating performance. This is truly a win-win for both companies, and we continue to work with Williams to further enhance the value of our respective assets.”

Chesapeake will move to a fixed-fee agreement in the Haynesville Shale beginning in January 2016. Gas gathering fees in the Haynesville will be reduced on a unit basis, and the existing minimum volume obligations are expected to be met with the consolidation of two gathering systems and a projected increase in Haynesville area volumes. Inclusive of previously expected MVC shortfall payments, the company’s gas production is expected to see improved gathering rates of approximately $0.20 per mcf in 2016 and 2017 and approximately $0.30 per mcf in 2018 and beyond. As part of the transaction, and consistent with Chesapeake’s current operating plans, the company committed to turn 140 equivalent wells online before the end of 2017. This commitment is projected to result in significant production growth in the Haynesville Shale asset over the next two years, thus also increasing Williams’ revenue from the area.

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Ohio wells produced 3.1 million barrels of brine in 2Q 2015

By Bob Downing Published: September 8, 2015

INTERESTING TIDBIT:

Ohio in second quarter 2015 produced 3,100,348 barrels of brine from its horizontal Utica Shale wells, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

That volume came from 978 wells that were in production.

An additional 42 wells are listed in the quarterly report.

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Could re-fracking shale wells provide a major boost to drillers?

By Bob Downing Published: September 8, 2015

Some are suggesting that re-fracking shale wells will be the next big thing.

That's especially true because re-fracking can be done for $1 million per well in Ohio, compared to $10 million to drill a new well.

For cash-strapped companies facing today's economic downturn, that's huge.

For example, Chesapeake Energy has reported that it going back and re-fracking pre-2012 wells in the Utica and Marcellus shales in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

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Franklin County judge backs North Royalton in drilling fight

By Bob Downing Published: September 8, 2015

A Franklin County Common Pleas judge has sided with the city of North Royalton in its fight against a driller, in what some are calling a win for local home rule.

In Ohio, control over drilling was given in 2004 to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources by the Ohio Legislature. That has been upheld by the courts.

Click  here  to read more about the case.

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Conservancy protects its first Jefferson County property, stream

By Bob Downing Published: September 8, 2015

The Western Reserve Land Conservancy has preserved its first property in Jefferson County in easterrn Ohio.

The conservancy, based in the Cleveland suburb of Moreland Hills, acquired a conservation easement from landfowner Beverly Christen for a 134-acre farm.

The easement will keep the tract from being developed in the future.

The acquisition, known locally as Standing Rock, includes two thirds of a mile of Yellow Creek, a high-quality stream that drains to the Ohio River.

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Quanta Services selected for Rockies Express pipeline project

By Bob Downing Published: September 8, 2015

From a press release:

HOUSTON, Aug. 31, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Quanta Services, Inc. (NYSE: PWR) announced today that Rockies Express Pipeline LLC (REX), selected Quanta Services to provide turnkey engineering, procurement and construction services for the REX Zone Three Capacity Enhancement Project. Quanta subsidiaries QPS Engineering and Price Gregory International will play key roles in the project, which includes the installation of three new compressor stations and the upgrade of two existing compressor stations. As the only domestic pipeline that links the Rocky Mountain and Appalachian supply basins to the Midwest and Gulf Coast markets, REX provides an important outlet for producers moving natural gas from the Rockies and Utica/Marcellus shale plays to these major consumer markets which serve millions of natural gas consumers.

Quanta has commenced engineering and other front-end services for the project, with construction expected to begin in the second quarter of 2016 or when REX receives the required regulatory approvals. Subject to obtaining these approvals, completion is expected in the fourth quarter of 2016. Once the project is complete, the new and upgraded facilities are expected to create up to 800,000 dekatherms a day of additional natural gas takeaway capacity from the Appalachian Basin to the Midwestern and other high-demand natural gas markets.

About Quanta Services
Quanta Services is a leading specialized contracting services company, delivering infrastructure solutions for the electric power and oil and gas industries. Quanta's comprehensive services include designing, installing, repairing and maintaining energy infrastructure. With operations throughout the United States, Canada and Australia and in select other international markets, Quanta has the manpower, resources and expertise to safely complete projects that are local, regional, national or international in scope. For more information, visit www.quantaservices.com.

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Canton area to host Utica Summit III on Oct. 13

By Bob Downing Published: September 8, 2015

Tom Gellrich of Topline Analytics in Philadelphia will be the keynote speaker on Oct. 13 at the Utica Summit III in the Canton area.

The event will be held at Kent State University's University Center in Jackson Township.

The day-long event is sponsored by the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce, shaledirectories.com and The Canton Repository.

To register, go to www.uticasummit.com.

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Oilfield service fim adds new facility in Ohio's Belmont County

By Bob Downing Published: September 8, 2015

Stonebridge Oilfield Services is expanding its Ohio operations into Belmont County.

The company, with corporate offices in Marietta, is adding a Barnesville facility.

Click here  to read more from the Barnesville Enterprise.

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U.S. rig count drops by 13 to 864, the first decline in seven weeks

By Bob Downing Published: September 8, 2015

From the Associated Press:

Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. this week declined by 13 to 864. That is the first drop in the last seven weeks.

Houston-based Baker Hughes said Friday that 662 rigs were seeking oil and 202 explored for natural gas. A year ago, with oil prices about double the prices now, 1,925 rigs were active.

Among major oil- and gas-producing states, Louisiana gained four rigs and California and Oklahoma each increased by one.

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Progress made on Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Cove Point LNG terminal

By Bob Downing Published: September 8, 2015

Dominion Resources is working on its $5 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline, plus its $3.8 billion LNG export facility at Cove Point in Maryland.

Click  here  to read reporter Casey Junkins updates on the progress being made on the two projects that will significantly impact Utica and Marcellus drillers.

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Husted defends his action against votes in three Ohio counties

By Bob Downing Published: September 6, 2015

From the Associated Press on Saturday:

      
 

COLUMBUS: Ohio's elections chief acted properly in invalidating pipeline and injection well ballot issues in three counties and a complaint against him should be dismissed, his attorneys told the state Supreme Court in a Friday filing.

Residents in Fulton, Medina and Athens counties are challenging Secretary of State Jon Husted's move. They told the state's high court earlier this week Husted was supposed to decide the validity of their petitions, not the merits of the "community rights county charters" they proposed.

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Chief Oil to close Pittsburgh area office by late October

By Bob Downing Published: September 4, 2015

Dallas-based Chief Oil Co. is closing its regional office in western Pennsylvania as part of ongoing restructuring.

The office in Weford, Pa., near Pittsburgh will close by late October, but two additional Pennsylvania offices will remain open.

The company has about 210,000 acres in Pennsylvania and is active drilling in Bradford, Sullivan, Lycoming, Susquehanna, Tioga and Wyoming counties.

Click  here  to read more.

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Natural gas, oil stocks boost college endowments, study says

By Bob Downing Published: September 4, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute on Thursday:

WASHINGTON, September 3, 2015 – Oil and natural gas company stocks outperformed all other asset classes held by college and university endowments, according to a new study conducted by Dr. Robert Shapiro, chairman of the economic consulting firm Sonecon, for API.

“America’s colleges and universities have seen strong returns from their investments in America’s oil and natural gas renaissance,” said API Vice President for Regulatory and Economic Policy Kyle Isakower. “University and college investments in oil and gas firms outperformed every other asset class examined in their endowments.”

Average annual returns on oil and natural gas company stocks over the last decade were 72 percent greater than on all U.S. equities and 89 percent greater than on all endowment assets over the same period, according to the study. Oil and natural gas company stocks held by college and university endowments produced average annual returns of 13.4 percent, compared to 8.1 percent for real estate, 7.8 percent for all U.S. stocks, 4.9 percent for bonds, and 1.6 percent for 3-month Treasury bills.

“Institutions of higher education depend on income from oil and natural gas investments, which also helps students who cannot afford full tuition,” Isakower said. “The energy revolution taking place in America supports 9.8 million jobs and represents 8 percent of the U.S. economy. Affordable, abundant domestic natural gas resources have also made America a leader in reducing emissions and have helped drive carbon dioxide emissions down to 27-year lows.”

Isakower noted that the Sonecon study is the most recent in a series that have found that millions of Americans own and derive the benefits of oil and natural gas company stock, and that those stocks were also the highest performers for large public pension funds.

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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Pre-Labor Day gasoline prices are lowest in 11 years

By Bob Downing Published: September 4, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administartion today:

The U.S. average retail price for regular gasoline was $2.51/gallon (g) on August 31, the lowest price for the Monday before Labor Day since 2004, and 95¢/g lower than the same time last year. Declines in crude oil prices are the main driver behind falling U.S. gasoline prices. Lower crude oil prices reflect concerns about economic growth in emerging markets, expectations of higher oil exports from Iran, and continuing actual and expected growth in global crude oil inventories.

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Tags: gasoline , prices , retail prices

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EV Energy Partners announce gas-rich acquisitions

By Bob Downing Published: September 4, 2015

From EV Energy Partners on Thursday:

HOUSTON, Sept. 3, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- EV Energy Partners, L.P. (NASDAQ: EVEP) today announced it has entered into four agreements with certain EnerVest Institutional Partnerships (EnerVest) to acquire oil and natural gas properties, which represent combined estimated net proved reserves of 302 Bcfe, in the Appalachian Basin, San Juan Basin, Michigan and Austin Chalk for a combined cash consideration of $259 million.  The acquisitions are expected to close on October 1 and are subject to customary closing conditions and purchase price adjustments.  EVEP plans to fund the acquisitions with available cash and borrowings under its revolving credit facility. 

One of the acquisitions is the purchase of a 100 percent ownership interest in Belden & Blake Corporation (Belden).  Belden owns oil and natural gas properties in the Appalachian Basin and Michigan near EVEP's existing properties.  Belden's estimated net proved reserves are 120 Bcfe.  As a result of the transaction, Belden will become a wholly-owned indirect subsidiary of EVEP and will remain a C-Corp, subject to state and federal taxation.  EVEP's valuation of Belden included an assessment of future taxation at Belden as well as its working capital and other net assets.  At recent strip prices, EVEP estimates that corporate taxes at Belden will be negligible for the remainder of 2015 and less than $1.0 million annually for 2016 and 2017.

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Study says fracking could hurt park visitation in five states

By Bob Downing Published: September 4, 2015

From a press release:

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New group knocks Sen. Bennet for deal on crude export ban

By Bob Downing Published: September 4, 2015

From a press release:

Allied Progress Calls Sen. Bennet Out for Opening Door to Potential Deal on Crude Oil Export Ban

“The people of Colorado shouldn’t be getting the raw end of Sen. Bennet’s bad deal with big oil.” 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Allied Progress – the recently launched organization that has been running a nearly week-long ad campaign in Colorado and four other states urging Senators to oppose repeal of the crude oil export ban – released a statement taking Colorado Senator Michael Bennet to task for opening the door to a “compromise” that would effectively end the 40-year old policy.

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Company to invest $100 million on Ohio cracker plant design

By Bob Downing Published: September 4, 2015

From JobsOhio on Thursday:

COLUMBUS — Governor John R. Kasich announced today that the American subsidiary of PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC), Thailand’s largest integrated petrochemical and refining company, is ready to invest $100 million to conduct detailed engineering design for a world-scale cracker on a site on the west bank of the Ohio River in Belmont County.

Kasich was joined by PTT Global Chemical Public Company Limited President and CEO Supattanapong Punmeechaow, who said PTTGC America will take up to the next 12 months to determine the feasibility of a world-scale petrochemical complex, also known as an ethane cracker, in Mead Township on the west bank of the Ohio River.

If constructed the project would represent a multibillion-dollar investment, and thousands of construction jobs, and hundreds of permanent jobs. The investment would also redevelop the site of the FirstEnergy’s former Burger Power Plant, which was retired in late 2011.

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Grafton to host CORN public pipeline meeting on Sept. 10

By Bob Downing Published: September 4, 2015

From a press release:

Lorain County Pipeline Meeting Set Sept. 10 Learn How the Pipeline Affects You
To inform Lorain County residents about the dangers and costs of the proposed NEXUS pipeline, its potential environmental impact, reduction of property values and the safety factors associated with the construction and maintenance of natural gas pipelines, the Coalition to Reroute NEXUS (CORN) is holding a community meeting, Thursday Sept. 10 7-9 PM, at Grafton Town Hall, 17109 Avon Belden Rd. Grafton, OH 44044. The Town Hall is located at the corner of State Route 83 and State Route 303. The public is invited.
“We need to get the word out to the public that NEXUS is proposing a 36” diameter pipeline operating at 1440 psi that might end up 50 feet from your front porch. We need to put safety first. Residents need to realize that as property owners, we have a right to determine the use of our land.” explained CORN cofounder Paul L. Gierosky.
The US Depart of Transportation’s Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration reported that in the past ten years more than 6,000 pipeline incidents were responsible for 175 deaths and $5.2 Billion of property damage.
“The goal of the Coalition is to reroute the pipeline to a more southerly route – one that will affect 70 percent fewer residences and reduce the impact on environmentally sensitive areas by over 50 percent, “he said.
NEXUS, a Houston based company owned by Spectra Energy, is proposing a 36 inch pipeline route that will traverse 11 Ohio counties, including some of the most populated areas of the state. CORN, along with the City of Green, has offered an alternative path which would mean safer and more efficient transport methods.

The Mission of the Coalition to Reroute Nexus is to inform, educate, and persuade Nexus to choose a more southerly route largely avoiding higher density counties in the northeastern part of Ohio and the ecologically unique and environmentally sensitive Oak Openings Region in western Ohio. The Coalition’s Goal is the creation of a carefully engineered, thoughtfully located Pipeline Safety Corridor that protects the public, the pipeline itself, preserves property values and demonstrates respect for individual property rights.
Add One
“This routing can change the face of our environment and the lives of future generations. Imagine -- an explosion of the pipeline. The damage will extend much farther than you know. Experts say pipelines need a minimum of a 1500 foot setback. For example, in Oberlin if an explosion occurred, we do not have a first response safety plan in place or the equipment needed to handle this catastrophe”, says Karen Fridenstine, a life-long Oberlin resident and land owner whose property is affected by the project.
“The pipeline now proposed to run parallel to the Oberlin’s community center, SplashZone and rec fields would be dust. The JVS School, the homes along the Reserve could be in peril. Think of your children in school, your loved one in a senior center. Oberlin would not allow a dynamite factory in your backyard, but the federal government will permit the equivalent if the current route of this pipeline is approved.” said Fridenstine
“Think of property values. The Medina County auditor has stated that this pipeline will negatively impact the value of your land,” said Gierosky.
Several Lorain County land owners are currently taking legal action against the pipeline construction route.
“Where is the USA we fight for? What about our community land owners’ property rights? The requirement for eminent domain is not being met in this circumstance. This is a foreign owned for- profit based company. This is a very complicated issue. Please join us Sept. 10 to support your community and learn the truth,” says Fridenstine.
Follow the Coalition to Reroute Nexus at www.facebook.com/MedinaNoNexus
Donate NOW: http://bit.ly/1D49BY1

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Announcement expected on Belmont County cracker plant

By Bob Downing Published: September 2, 2015

A major announcement is expected on Thursday by Ohio state officials and the Thai-Japanese companies behind a proposed $5.7 billion ethane cracker plant in Belmont County.

Columbus Business First reports that the parties are expected to announce that $100 million will be spent on the first phase of the plant.

Click  here  to read more.

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Oilfield lodging industry is adapting to tough conditions

By Bob Downing Published: September 2, 2015

From a press release received this week:

Austin, TX, August 28, 2015. A year ago, hotels, lodges, and man camps throughout the U.S. shale plays were reaping the benefits of record setting oil exploration and production. With the oil/gas industry’s rapid growth over the past few years came thousands of new jobs, many of which were in rural areas where there was a shortage of lodging options. As the U.S. oil industry embraced innovation to fuel its growth, the lodging industry adapted to meet the dynamic needs for housing workers. “It was a perfect marriage of opportunity and innovation that spurred tremendous economic growth for both the energy and lodging industry” says Angela Overstreet, Chief Operating Officer for oilfieldlodging.com, a full service lodging and crew logistics company out of Austin, TX. “We too embraced innovation to service the lodging needs of our clients and our facility partners. The significant drop in oil prices and the corresponding reduction of jobs, forced our company, hotels, lodges, and man camps to shift out of the comfort zone of high occupancy, impressive revenues, and endless opportunity.”

Over the past year, cities across America like Carlsbad, NM, Pecos, TX, Carrollton, OH, and Monaca, PA like so many other small towns impacted by the oil/gas renaissance, embraced the opening of new hotels to cater to the demand for lodging. Now, many of those new hotels are scrambling to reach occupancy levels to remain profitable. Most hotels, lodges, and man camps throughout the U.S shale plays have been forced to adapt to the slump in oil prices through aggressive competitive rates, expanding their free breakfast menu’s and hours, adding outdoor grill areas, weekly happy hour receptions, laundry services, relaxed reservation cancellation policies, expanded hours for housekeeping, converting single rooms to doubles, and even job site shuttle service for workers. While these changes have helped to attract and retain clients, competitive rates are the key to their survival. According to Overstreet, “In response to our oil/gas clients request for a reduction in their lodging expenses, we’ve had to reach out to our facility partners on multiple occasions and ask for rate reductions of up to 20% in order to retain their business. This is a perfect example of trickledown economics where the oil price decline hits the oil companies, their employees, their product/ service suppliers, and the entire economy. As innovation and new technologies enabled the tremendous growth in the U.S. oil/gas industry, the crude slump has forced product/service suppliers to meet the dynamic impact on their businesses. At oilfieldlodging.com, we cut our teeth primarily servicing the lodging and crew logistics needs of Frac Crews but in January, when the industry wide layoffs began to trickle down to our business, we adapted by offering our cost saving lodging management services to all sectors of the oil/gas industry as well as construction, transportation, environmental, and several other industries. Those efforts have paid off and we’ve been able to grow our business despite the impact the low oil prices have had on the economy. We’ve been swamped with hotels and Hospitality Management companies throughout the U.S. reaching out to us for assistance in helping them put heads on beds and those that have adapted to the dynamic needs of our clients have improved their ability to survive the economic impact of the oil slump.”

The crude realities of unpredictability in the oil/gas industry will continue to force all related industries to adapt new technologies and think outside the box in order to ride out the storm until oil prices settle at a globally accepted level. The trickle-down economic impact has resulted in a trickle-up impact as those product/service suppliers have helped the oil/gas industry lower their costs which allows them to continue operating and even remain profitable through these challenging economic times.

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Agency offering $10 million to boost crude oil safety by rail

By Bob Downing Published: September 2, 2015

A press release from the Federal Railroad Administration on Tuesday:

WASHINGTON – The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today announced that it is soliciting applications for $10 million in competitive grant funding available to states to improve highway-rail grade crossings and track along routes that transport energy products like crude oil and ethanol.  The guidelines for the grant applications set by the FRA encourage states to include innovative solutions to improve safety, especially at highway-rail grade crossings.  The funding is part of the Railroad Safety grants for the Safe Transportation of Energy Products (STEP) by Rail Program.  

“The U.S. Department of Transportation has made increasing safety at highway-rail grade crossings, especially along routes transporting energy products, one of its top priorities,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.  “This money allows the Department to support innovative ideas and solutions developed at the local level, and I encourage states to apply for this funding.”

Highway-rail grade crossings collisions are the second-leading cause of all railroad-related fatalities.  Last year, 269 individuals died in these collisions.  While the number of fatalities has decreased for the last several decades, this number increased last year for the first time this decade.

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Max Minzner named FERC's general counsel

By Bob Downing Published: September 2, 2015

From the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Tuesday:

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chairman Norman Bay has named Max Minzner as general counsel to the Commission.

Minzner, who joined Chairman Bay’s staff as an advisor in June, has taught law at the University of New Mexico School of Law and the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. From 2009 to 2010, Minzner was special counsel to Bay, who at that time was director of the FERC Office of Enforcement. At UNM, he served as associate dean for Academic Affairs and was awarded the 2013-2015 University of New Mexico Presidential Teaching Fellowship, a lifetime achievement award given annually to a single professor university-wide to recognize excellence in teaching. A graduate of Brown University and Yale Law School, Minzner’s scholarship has appeared in the Harvard Law Review, the Texas Law Review, and the William & Mary Law Review, among other journals.

“I have known Max for almost 20 years, beginning when he was a law clerk at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Mexico,” Chairman Bay said. “I have full confidence that Max will bring a high level of excellence to his work in the Office of the General Counsel.”

Also today, Chairman Bay named David Morenoff, who has been serving as FERC general counsel, to the position of deputy general counsel. Morenoff has served in several capacities in the Office of the General Counsel, including acting general counsel, deputy general counsel and special counsel, and served as senior legal and policy advisor to former Chairman Jon Wellinghoff. Before joining FERC, Morenoff worked on electric industry matters in the Washington, D.C., office of Troutman Sanders, LLP, and also served as a legislative assistant on energy and other issues to U.S. Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island. He is a graduate of Brown University and Harvard Law School.

“It is a testament to the high regard in which David is held that he is one of the few general counsels who has served three different chairmen as either the acting general counsel or as general counsel,” Chairman Bay said. “I deeply appreciate his dedication, professionalism, and tireless efforts on behalf of FERC, and I look forward to continuing to work with him here.”

R-15-39

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Mason tapped by Kasich to serve on compact commission

By Bob Downing Published: September 2, 2015

Ohio Gov. John Kasich has named Roetzel attorney Donald L. Mason to be Ohio's representative on the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission.

Mason, who began his term on Aug. 21, previously served on the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio from 1998 to 2009.

Click  here  to read more more.

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Williams completes 100-mile Virginia-North Carolina pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: September 2, 2015

From a press release:

Williams on Tuesday announced it has placed into service a major expansion of its Transco natural gas pipeline to fuel new electric-power generation in Virginia and serve increasing local distribution demand in North Carolina.

Transco is the nation’s largest-volume and fastest-growing interstate natural gas pipeline system with enough transportation capacity to serve the equivalent of more than 50 million households each day in North America.

The approximately $300 million Virginia Southside Expansion is providing 270,000 dekatherms per day (dth/d) of incremental transportation capacity, which is enough gas to serve the equivalent of 1.6 million households.

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ConocoPhillips to cut 10 percent of workforce

By Bob Downing Published: September 2, 2015

From the Associated Press:

Energy company ConocoPhillips, which has already cut 1,000 jobs this year, says it will eliminate around 1,810 more positions following a plunge that took oil prices to their lowest levels in years.

The company said Tuesday it is eliminating 10 percent of its workforce. The biggest proportion of the job cuts will be in North America. ConocoPhillips plans to eliminate more than 500 jobs in Houston, where it is based.

In a statement, ConocoPhillips said it’s making the cuts because the energy industry is in a “dramatic downturn.”

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Effects from lifting U.S. export restrictions will vary, EIA says

By Bob Downing Published: September 2, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

A new study by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on the potential implications of allowing more crude oil exports finds that effects on domestic crude oil production are key to determining the other effects of a policy change. Gasoline prices would be either unchanged or slightly reduced. Trade in crude oil and petroleum products would also be affected.

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Tags: crude oil , exports , forecast , oil/petroleum , production

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EIA report supports lifting crude export restrictions, API says

By Bob Downing Published: September 2, 2015

From the American Petroleum Injstitute on Tuesday:

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Group hails New Hampshire town for community bill of rights

By Bob Downing Published: September 2, 2015

From a pree release earlier this week:

National Community Rights Network Endorses New Hampshire
Town’s Community Bill of Rights Ordinance

Contact: Cindy Kudlik, ckudlik@yahoo.com, 603-780-4511
www.nationalcommunityrightsnetwork.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 31, 2015
NEW HAMPSHIRE: This month, the National Community Rights Network (NCRN)
endorsed Barrington, New Hampshire’s Community Bill of Rights Ordinance. The rightsbased
ordinance secures the rights of residents to clean water, air, and scenic
preservation, and bans resource extraction that would violate those rights. Residents
drafted the ordinance with help from the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund
(CELDF). They are advancing it for Town Meeting vote in 2016.
In providing its support for the Community Bill of Rights Ordinance, the NCRN considered
the efforts of the Barrington Waterways Protection Committee (BWPC) - the local group
organizing to bring the ordinance to a vote. Since 2012, the committee has worked to
protect the Isinglass River and surrounding waterways from gravel mining and water
extraction.
Cilia Bannenberg, a BWPC committee member, stated, “We are very grateful and
honored by the endorsement of the National Community Rights Network. We have
worked tirelessly to educate Barrington voters that the only way to preserve individual and
community rights is to enact this ordinance.”
The BWPC has dedicated itself to education, outreach, grassroots organizing, and
campaigning, despite strong opposition from industry supporters. New Hampshire
Community Rights Network President Michelle Sanborn stated, “Residents of Barrington
understand this work is part of a longer-term effort to ban activities and projects that
would violate the rights of natural persons and ecosystems to exist and flourish. They are
determined to bring the people's Community Bill of Rights forward again in 2016.”
“No community should become a resource colony for corporate profit,” said Cindy Kudlik,
NCRN president. “We are proud to stand united with the BWPC to defend the inalienable
constitutional rights of the citizens of Barrington and their natural environment.”
The NCRN is composed of representatives from seven statewide networks that have
grown out of the grassroots organizing of CELDF, which has assisted communities to
advance Community Rights at the local level for 20 years. Nearly 200 communities across
the U.S. have adopted CELDF-drafted Community Bills of Rights, protecting community
rights to clean air and water, sustainable food, energy, and other systems, and the right to
local self-governance.
The NCRN assists the state Community Rights Networks to educate people across the
country on community rights and local self-governance; helps to secure the inalienable
rights of all people, communities, and ecosystems through local self-governance; asserts
community rights to empower and liberate communities from state preemption and
corporate harm; and advances those efforts toward state and federal constitutional
change.
###

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Second natural gas-powered containership launched in Calif.

By Bob Downing Published: September 2, 2015

From a press release from last Monday:

TOTE and NASSCO Launch World’s Most Environmentally Friendly Containership

Perla del Caribe, one of two Marlin Class ships built to serve Puerto Rico, will reduce air emissions and result in healthier communities

 

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Ohio groups planning Wednesday protest against Jon Husted

By Bob Downing Published: September 1, 2015

From a press release:

COLUMBUS, OH:  Earlier this month, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted declared that the citizens of Medina, Fulton, and Athens Counties may not vote on their own county charter initiatives, despite meeting requirements to place those initiatives on the November ballot.

Mr. Husted’s ruling has broad implications for the right of initiative in the state of Ohio. Residents intend to make clear to Mr. Husted that his decision to strip communities of their right to vote will not be accepted by the people. Residents from across the state will protest outside the Athletic Club this Wednesday, September 2. The Secretary of State is the keynote speaker at the Metropolitan Club Luncheon that day.

The protest will take place in front of the Athletic Club (136 E. Broad Street) beginning at 11:00 and will continue until the luncheon is over. The group will proceed to the Ohio Supreme Court to make clear to the justices that the people want their initiatives placed on the November ballot.

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EPA sets methane hearings in Pittsburgh, Dallas, Denver

By Bob Downing Published: September 1, 2015

The U.S. EPA has scheduled public hearings in Pittsburgh, Dallas and Denver on new rules to curtail methane emissions from the drilling industry.

The Pittsburgh hearing will be Sept. 29.

The hearings in Dalls and Denver will both be  Sept. 22.

Notice was given in the Federal Register.

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Report: California growers likely used fracking wastewater

By Bob Downing Published: September 1, 2015

From a press release earlier this week:


CALIFORNIA -- More than 35,600 people, members of the California-based Courage Campaign, have pledged to stop buying produce from popular California produce companies - including Sunview, Halos Mandarins, Trinchero, and Bee Sweet Citrus - after a Mother Jones article revealed that they may be growing their fruit using oil industry wastewater, laced with toxic compounds.

READ THE MOTHER JONES STORY HERE: http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/07/oil-wastewater-fruits-vegetables-farms

The Mother Jones report comes after a recent study by Water Defense showed that treated oil wastewater being sold to California farmers contained acetone, oil, and methylene chloride -- a known carcinogen -- as high as 56 parts per billion -- four times the amount of methylene chloride found in a contaminated river after a 2013 Exxon Mobil pipeline spill in Mayflower, Arkansas.  The Mayflower incident was designed a federal disaster zone.

Every year, oil companies sell back billions of gallons of recycled fracking wastewater to drought-stricken farmers, desperate for water. Oil companies save money by doing this, rather than disposing of the wastewater. These farmers assume the water they are buying is passing health standards, but government authorities charged with overseeing this practice are relying on decades-old monitoring standards, which don’t even test for carcinogens or the chemicals being used in modern day oil production.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/05/05/3654388/california-drought-oil-wastewater-agriculture/

“How in the world do these corporations think this is OK? This is scary. Hundreds of thousands of Americans put Halos Mandarins into their kids’ lunch boxes every day and by all appearances, Halos and other major California growers -- some even considered “organic” -- are irrigating their crops with oil wastewater, laced with carcinogens.” explained Eddie Kurtz, executive director of the California-based Courage Campaign.  “These brands have no plans to stop. If anything, Big Oil wants to find more takers for this toxic water. Consumers and parents all over the country need to take action immediately, educate each other, and stop buying food from these misguided, short-sighted companies.”

SIGN THE PLEDGE HERE: http://act.couragecampaign.org/sign/ToxicWaterProduce/?ak_proof=1&t=2&akid=1936.648517.EmyEti

For interviews with Courage Campaign, please contact Brett Abrams at 516-841-1105 or by email at brett@fitzgibbonmedia.com.

# # # # #

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Ohio EPA considers general permits for compressor stations

By Bob Downing Published: September 1, 2015

From an Ohio EPA press release today:

Ohio EPA Considers Allowing General Permits for Compressor Stations; 

Opens Pre-Comment Period for Interested Parties

 

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Crude rail shipments are dropping, tankers in storage

By Bob Downing Published: September 1, 2015

Short-line rail operators are making money int he declining oil market in the United States.

That's because they are storing no-longer-needed rail tank cars that once carried crude oil from North Dakota to refineries on the East Coast.

Click  here  to read more from Reuters.

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New England needs new energy infrastructure, report says

By Bob Downing Published: September 1, 2015

A press release from last week:

Boston, MA – 8/27/15 – New England is facing significant economic consequences if electricity and natural gas infrastructure is not built over the next five years, according to a study commissioned by the New England Coalition for Affordable Energy.
The Coalition is a newly formed organization whose founding members include prominent business and labor groups advocating for more affordable energy for the region’s consumers and businesses.
The study, conducted by Boston consulting firms La Capra Associates and Economic Development Research Group, found that failure to expand the region’s energy infrastructure will lead to higher energy costs for households and businesses between 2016 and 2020 of $5.4 billion, a reduction in disposable income that could top $12 billion, and 167,600 jobs lost or not created. These impacts would ramp up from 2016 through 2020, with similar or larger impacts expected beyond that timeframe if infrastructure is not added.
These consequences would be on top of the reported $7.5 billion in higher energy costs the region has already incurred over the past three winters due to the natural gas pipeline system reaching maximum capacity during winter months to meet both electricity generation and space heating demands.
“The large number of job losses quantified in the study are caused by the combination of higher energy costs and the loss of additional infrastructure investment. Specifically, higher energy costs alone would cause the region’s economy to lose 52,000 private-sector jobs by 2020. Job losses in 2020 would negate 80 percent of the private-sector job growth projected for that year,” said Carl Gustin, spokesman for the Coalition. “And the loss of additional infrastructure investment would result in another 115,600 temporary or permanent job losses,” added Gustin.
“While prior studies have examined the need for specific projects or types of infrastructure in the region, this study examined multiple types of infrastructure to reduce energy costs including natural gas pipelines, electricity transmission lines, renewable and non-renewable electricity generation,” said Alvaro Pereira, Principal Consultant at La Capra Associates, one of the study’s authors. “This involved sophisticated and multifaceted modeling coupled with
the use of realistic assumptions to capture the interactions among natural gas and electricity
infrastructure systems in New England.”
The energy price impacts of the constrained energy infrastructure system were then analyzed
using a dynamic, economic impact model developed by Regional Economic Models, Inc.
(REMI) to determine broader impacts on the economy, jobs, personal income and regional
competitiveness. The focus of the study was to review infrastructure investment primarily for
economic purposes – to reduce prices – rather than investment deemed to be needed solely
for reliability purposes.
“The positive news is that infrastructure projects have been proposed, and some are
underway, that would mitigate or eliminate these adverse consequences. It’s clear that energy
infrastructure is needed to provide New England households and businesses with more
affordable energy, but timely decision-making by regulatory and permitting agencies is
necessary if the region is to achieve more affordable prices for consumers and improved
competitiveness for employers,” said Gustin.
The study marks the launch of the New England Coalition for Affordable Energy which was
formed to advocate for the expansion of the region’s natural gas and electricity infrastructure
– to make these vital energy commodities more affordable to consumers and businesses.
While the Coalition does not take positions on individual projects, its mission is to provide
factual information, credible research and analyses to policymakers, elected officials and the
public on the need for energy infrastructure. The Coalition also advocates for the importance
of timely decision-making and highlights the consequences of inaction.
Founding members from all six New England states represent tens of thousands of employers
ranging from small, independent firms to multi-national corporations: Associated Industries
of Massachusetts, Associated Industries of Vermont, Business & Industry Association of
New Hampshire, Brotherhood of Utility Workers Council, UWUA 369, Connecticut Business
& Industry Association, Independent Oil Marketers Association of New England, NAIOP
Massachusetts, National Federation of Independent Business (CT, MA, ME, RI, VT
Chapters), Maine State Chamber of Commerce, Retailers Association of Massachusetts,
Rhode Island Business Coalition.
The full study is available at www.NEaffordableenergy.org

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XTO Energy suffers North Dakota/Bakken Shale blowout

By Bob Downing Published: September 1, 2015

From the Associated Press today:

BISMARCK, N.D.: The state Health Department says a well blowout spewed more than 23,000 gallons of oil and 4,600 gallons of briny wastewater in Dunn County.

Environmental scientist Bill Suess says the blowout occurred Saturday morning at a well owned by XTO Energy Inc., about 18 miles southeast of Watford City. Suess says the company reported the spill to health officials on Sunday.

Suess says no one was injured and a state inspector is on site. He says no waterways or drinking water was affected.

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Shell Chemical building bridge at potential cracker site

By Bob Downing Published: September 1, 2015

While there's still no final word on whether it will be moving forward with plans to construct a multibillion-dollar cracker plant in Beaver County, Shell Chemicals Ltd. has started building a bridge over Route 18 that will allow construction crews to haul dirt from one side of Route 18 to the other without disrupting traffic, according to Pittsburgh Business Times on Monday.

Click  here  to read more.

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Ohio has topped 1,000 producing Utica Shale wells with 1,004

By Bob Downing Published: September 1, 2015

Ohio has topped 1,000 producing Utica wells.

Ohio actually has 1,004 producing Utica wells, as of Aug. 29, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources reported today.

There are 1,996 permitted Utica wells, of which 1,586 have been drilled.

Ohio has 21 drilling rigs at work.

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Aubrey McClendon inks deal for Mexican exploration, drilling

By Bob Downing Published: September 1, 2015

From a press release today:

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO (September 1, 2015) – Mexico’s EIM Capital and an affiliate of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma-based American Energy Partners, LP today announced a new, long-term, landmark partnership to explore the vast exploration and development opportunities offered by Mexico’s abundant oil and gas energy resources. Mexico currently holds some of the world’s largest unconventional oil and gas reserves – more than 60 billion barrels of shale resources, according to estimates by the Energy Information Administration, which would provide over 35 years of US oil supply at current US production levels. These untapped unconventional energy resources could become highly economic for efficient developers and producers, and bolster a strong North American energy policy.

EIM Capital, a Mexico City-based private equity fund dedicated solely to new investment in the Mexican energy sector, including power, upstream, midstream and other energy-related infrastructure, is led by CEO Franco C. Hamdan and former Mexican President Vicente Fox. American Energy Partners, an oil and gas asset management platform and operator with a management team that has drilled more than 15,000 horizontal shale wells throughout the US, is led by former Chesapeake Energy Corporation Co-Founder and CEO Aubrey K. McClendon.

The two companies announced that American Energy Partners and EIM Capital have entered into an agreement whereby, upon the completion of certain conditions, American Energy Partners will make a significant investment into EIM Capital to jointly pursue investments in Mexico’s energy industry and explore unconventional oil and gas development.  This is a significant vote of confidence in the Energy Reform program championed by current Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, and in the myriad possibilities offered by Mexico’s unconventional resources.

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