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Ohio Utica Shale

Ohio landowners sue Chesapeake over reduced royalties

By Bob Downing Published: October 30, 2015

An Akron woman and two farms in Columbiana County have sued subsidiaries of Chesapeake Energy Corp. for allegedly cheating hundreds of landowners out of more than $30 million in royalties.
The proposed class-action suit accuses Chesapeake Operating of improperly deducting costs from royalty payments and of violating lease agreements with landowners by selling oil and gas at below-market prices.
The suit against Chesapeake Operating was filed Monday  in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court.
The plaintiffs in the suit include Evelyn Frances Young of West Akron, a trustee of the Robert Milton Young Trust.
Robert  M. Young, 81, a retired legal counsel for the International Chemical Workers Union in Akron for 30 years, died in 2007.
The Youngs had leased gas and mineral rights on 166 acres in Carroll County for drilling. The initial lease was with Anschutz Exploration Corp. It was later taken over by Chesapeake.
Joining Young is suing were Hanover Farms LP and the Zehentbauer Family Land LP, both near Hanoverton.
Defendants named in the suit include three Chesapeake companies, plus Total E&P USA, Pelican Energy LLC and Jamestown Resources LLC.
The plaintiffs’ three leases only allowed deductions from royalty payments for taxes, not for drilling expenses, the 30-page suit says.
Landowners with leases get royalty payments based on the sale of natural gas and liquids from their wells. They get a portion of the sales’ income. It is a negotiated figure that is typically between 12½ and 20 percent in Ohio’s Utica Shale.
The suit says that Chesapeake has improperly made deductions from the royalty payments to the landowners, resulting in less money to landowners.
Since 2011, Chesapeake and the other defendants “have improperly deducted from the plaintiffs’ gross royalties owned under the uniform royalty provisions in the Gross Royalty Leases despite direct lease covenants forbidding these deductions,” the suit says.
Deductions have been made for gathering, processing, dehydrating, transporting, marketing, compression, third-party deductions, systems fuel, field fuel and Chesapeake Operating’s additional charges, the suit says.
“Substantial” and “excessive” deductions were taken by Chesapeake, the suit says.
The leases also restricted the discounted sale of oil and natural gas to company-owned affiliates, saying such sales must be at current market price for the commodities.
The defendants have regularly sold production at reduced prices to Chesapeake Energy Marketing LLC and it later sold the commodities at higher prices, resulting in less money to landowners, the suit says.
Chesapeake used similar terms in other leases involving more than 1,000 Ohio landowners with 40,000 acres in eight counties in eastern Ohio, according to Canton attorney William Williams of Krugliak, Wilkins, Griffiths & Dougherty Co. LPA, the Canton area law firm that is representing the plaintiffs along with the Murray & Murray law firm based in Sandusky.
Chesapeake Operating is the operators of the well and leases, many of which were signed in 2010 and 2011.
Chesapeake Exploration assigned percentages of the working interest to the other defendants.
The plaintiffs are seeking the recovery of money improperly withheld from royalty payments, monetary damages, attorney fees and costs.
Chesapeake was contacted for comment on the suit but did not respond.
Chesapeake, an Oklahoma-based corporation, is the No. 1 driller in Ohio’s Utica Shale with 674 drilled wells.
Similar complaints have been filed against Chesapeake by leaseholders in Pennsylvania, Texas, Oklahoma and other states. The U.S. Department of the Interior has fined the company for inaccurate royalty reports in connection with Native American leases.

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Kansas to keep injection well restrictions as quakes decrease

By Bob Downing Published: October 30, 2015

From the Associated Press:

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Oil and gas industry restrictions meant to decrease the frequency and intensity of earthquakes in south-central Kansas will remain in place until at least March 2016, state regulators decided Thursday.

The Kansas Corporation Commission issued an order extending limits on the injection of wastewater into the ground by oil and natural gas producers during fracking. The limits, first imposed in March of this year, apply to five earthquake-prone areas in Harper and Sumner counties.

The restrictions had been set to expire in September, but the commission’s staff recommended continuing them after a drop in the number and intensity of earthquakes in the spring and summer. The restrictions will be revisited early next year, the order said, but they could stay in effect longer.

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Ohio pipelines to produce $360 million in tax revenue in 2016

By Bob Downing Published: October 30, 2015

From Jackie Stewart of Energy in Depth-Ohio on Thursday:

12:12pm EDT October 29, 2015

by Jackie Stewart
jackie@energyindepth.org, Canfield, Ohio

There’s been a lot of talk this week about how Ohio has gotten “ lucky with a thing called fracking.” In addition to the hundreds of thousands of jobs the industry has supported and billions in investments that have poured in over the past five years, it may be that Ohio’s most exciting times are still yet to come, thanks to pipeline and infrastructure projects that support drilling activities.

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OFS Metrics launches oilfield customer benchmarking program

By Bob Downing Published: October 30, 2015

From a Thursday press release:

HOUSTON (Oct. 29, 2015) – OFS Metrics, a division of Houston-based EnergyPoint Research, has introduced a program for suppliers to the oil and gas industry to gauge the satisfaction of their customers and measure it against competitors.


OFS Metrics Supplier Benchmarking Survey is a customized program designed to provide oilfield suppliers with insights and comparative information by measuring and analyzing their customer satisfaction levels.  The process delivers a unique blend of data and analysis that includes benchmarked results versus a client’s direct competitors and industry peers.


“Oilfield suppliers not included in EnergyPoint’s published surveys have expressed an interest in benefitting from our expertise,” said Doug Sheridan, founder. “In response, we’ve created OFS Metrics to help these companies understand how they stack up.  It’s great to discover what customers think about your company, and it’s even better if you can learn how those perceptions compare to competitors and other industry leaders.  It’s a service that only OFS Metrics is able to provide.”

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Antero Resources reports on successful 3Q 2015

By Bob Downing Published: October 29, 2015

Colorado-based Antero Resources Corp. had a good third quarter 2015 financially.
The company, one of the biggest players in Ohio’s Utica Shale, reported on Wednesday  net income of $534 million or $1.93 per share, compared to net income of $204 million or 78 cents per share a year ago.
Total revenue for the third quarter 2015 were $1.4 billion, compared to $762 million for third quarter 2014.
The company had hedged its natural gas sales and that paid big dividends as commodity prices fell, company officials said.
In the third quarter, Antero’s natural gas production grew 39 percent from a year ago and by 1 percent from the previous quarter.
Production of natural gas liquids such as ethane, butane and propane jumped by 109 percent from a year ago and 14 percent from the previous quarter, Antero said.
In a report filed Oct. 13, Antero reported that it completed and began production from 25 Utica Shale wells in the third quarter 2015. The average lateral length for those 25 wells was 8,100 feet.
In the fourth quarter 2015, Antero plans to complete 12 wells with three four-well pads in the Utica Shale that is mostly in Ohio, plus smaller areas of northern West Virginia and western Pennsylvania.
Antero is currently operating four drilling rigs and three completion crews in the Utica Shale
Its first Utica Shale well in West Virginia is being drilled in Tyler County.
Wells are costing Antero Resources nearly $1.3 million per 1,000 feet of lateral in the Utica Shale, the company said.
Antero has 182 wells in Ohio that are permitted, drilled, being drilled or in production, according to state records.
Many of the drilling companies are reporting major losses in the third quarter due to low prices for oil and natural gas.

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Natural Gas Utilization Conference under way in Canonsburg

By Bob Downing Published: October 29, 2015

From a press release today:

2015 Penn State Natural Gas Utilization Conference Explores Energy Infrastructure, Demand, and New Technologies

 

Fifth Annual Conference Showcases Opportunities to Leverage Abundant Natural Gas Supply

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MPLX, MarkWest merger expected to close in 2015

By Bob Downing Published: October 29, 2015

From a press release today:

FINDLAY, Ohio, Oct. 29, 2015 - MPLX LP (NYSE: MPLX) today reported third-quarter 2015 net income attributable to MPLX of $41.5 million, or $0.41 per common limited partner unit, compared with $29.1 million, or $0.37 per common limited partner unit, for the third quarter of 2014. Third-quarter 2015 adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) attributable to MPLX were $64.6 million and distributable cash flow attributable to MPLX was $52.5 million.

As announced on Oct. 20, the board of directors of MPLX's general partner declared a distribution of $0.47 per common unit. This represents an increase of $0.03 per unit, or 6.8 percent, over the second-quarter 2015 distribution and an increase of $0.1125 per unit, or 31.5 percent, over the third-quarter 2014 distribution. Since the partnership's initial public offering in October 2012, the MPLX board has authorized distribution increases for 11 consecutive quarters, representing a compound annual growth rate of 23.6 percent over the minimum quarterly distribution established at the partnership's formation.

"Our strong earnings in the third quarter supported a distribution representing a 31.5 percent increase over the third quarter of last year," said MPLX Chairman and CEO Gary R. Heminger. "We continue to execute our strategy of accelerating the growth of the partnership and providing our unitholders an attractive distribution growth profile over an extended period of time."

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Equitrans seeks approval for $172 million pipeline project

By Bob Downing Published: October 29, 2015

Pittsburgh-based Equitrans LP has filed a request with a federal agency for its $172 million pipeline expansion in southwest Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

The application was filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The project would aid in shipping Appalachian basin natural gas to market.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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Snyder County, Pa., to get $1.1 billion, gas-fired power plant

By Bob Downing Published: October 29, 2015

Snyder County in central Pennsylvania will get a new $1.1 billion natural gas-fired power plant, says NPR's StateImpact Pennsylvania.

It will be fueled by natural gas fromt he Marcellus Shale.

Click  here  to read more.

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Thai company lets additional contract for Ohio cracker plant

By Bob Downing Published: October 29, 2015

The Thai conpany investigating building a $5.7 billion ethane cracker plant in eastern Ohio has awarded an additional contract, according to Oil and Gas Journal.

PTTGC America LLC, a subsidiary of PTT Glbal Chemical, has awarded a contract to Technip SA, Paris, for technology licensing and the process design package for the petrochemical complex that may be built in Belmont County.

Click  here  to read more.

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Alaska may buy out TransCanada Corp. in LNG deal

By Bob Downing Published: October 29, 2015

From the Associated Press on Wednesday:

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — TransCanada Corp. believes in the Alaska liquefied natural gas project, but it also agrees with Gov. Bill Walker's recommendation that the state buy out the company's interest in it, a TransCanada official said Wednesday.

During an appearance before the House Finance Committee, Vincent Lee, director of major projects development for the Canadian pipeline company, called it a mutual dissolution of the partnership.

Lee said he thinks the project has a lot of potential, and one of TransCanada's objectives in departing would be to ensure that the project's momentum isn't affected.

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Williams advancing propane dehydration project in Alberta

By Bob Downing Published: October 29, 2015

From a Wednesday press release:

Oklahoma-based Williams (NYSE: WMB) announced today that it is proceeding to the next phase of development with its planned propane dehydrogenation (PDH) facility located near Edmonton, Alberta.

The plant will have a capacity of 525 KTA of polymer grade propylene production and will use low-cost, locally sourced propane as its feedstock.

Click  here  to read the full press release.

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Noble Energy announces start-up of Big Bend in Gulf of Mexico

By Bob Downing Published: October 29, 2015

From a Wednesday press release:

Houston, Oct. 28, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Noble Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NBL) announced today that the Big Bend oil development in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico commenced production on October 26, 2015. The single-well field is ramping as expected and is anticipated to reach a maximum gross production rate of approximately 20 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day (MBoe/d) over the next couple of weeks. Approximately 90 percent of the volumes being produced are oil. In addition, the Company has continued to accelerate the Dantzler development and now expects first production from the Dantzler field by early November. Big Bend and Dantzler, located in Mississippi Canyon 698 and 782, respectively, are subsea tiebacks to the third-party Thunder Hawk production facility. Combined, the fields are estimated to contribute a maximum net production rate of 20 MBoe/d to Noble Energy.

Gary W. Willingham, Noble Energy's Executive Vice President of Operations, said, "We continue to build on our strong track record of major project execution with Big Bend coming online less than three years from discovery and within our sanctioned budget. Big Bend is the first of three major projects planned to come online for us in the Gulf of Mexico over the next nine months, contributing significant oil production and cash flow to the business. Short cycle times to first production, strong well deliverability, and low production costs from our Gulf of Mexico projects deliver attractive returns even in today's environment."

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Audubon Society fighting Washington crude oil terminals

By Bob Downing Published: October 29, 2015

The Audubon Society is battling three proposed oil export terminals in Grays Harbor in southwest Washington.

The terminals could store up to 91 million gallons of crude oil, much of which would be exported to China.

The terminals pose a major threat to shorebirs, the Audubon Society says.

Click  here  to read more.

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Royal Dutch Shell scrapping Carmon Creek in situ project

By Bob Downing Published: October 28, 2015

From Shell on Tuesday:

Shell originally sanctioned the project in October 2013 and announced in March 2015 that the project would be re-phased to take advantage of the market downturn to optimise design and retender certain contracts. After careful review of the potential design options, updated costs, and the company’s capital priorities, Shell’s view is that the project does not rank in its portfolio at this time. This decision reflects current uncertainties, including the lack of infrastructure to move Canadian crude oil to global commodity markets.

“We are making changes to Shell’s portfolio mix by reviewing our longer-term upstream options world-wide, and managing affordability and exposure in the current world of lower oil prices. This is forcing tough choices at Shell,” said Chief Executive Officer, Ben van Beurden.

Shell will retain the Carmon Creek leases and preserve some equipment while continuing to study the options for this asset. The company expects to take net impairment, contract provision, and redundancy and restructuring charges of some $2 billion as a result of this decision with the third quarter 2015 results, which will be included as an identified item. The project SEC Proved Reserves estimated at 418 million barrels bitumen at end 2014 will be de-booked and the project estimated recoverable petroleum resources will be classified as Contingent Resources. Carmon Creek is 100% Shell owned.

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Norway's Statoil reports $330 million loss in 3Q 2015

By Bob Downing Published: October 28, 2015

From the Associated Press:

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Norwegian oil and gas company Statoil posted a loss in the third quarter despite attempts to slash costs amid declining oil prices.

The state-controlled company posted a net loss Wednesday of 2.8 billion kroner ($330 million) in the July-September period, compared with a loss of 4.7 billion kronor in the same quarter last year.

Statoil cited “impairment charges and provisions,” but it was also hit by declining revenue, which fell 24 percent to 112 billion kroner.

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Hess reports growing production in Utica, 13,000 acres sold

By Bob Downing Published: October 28, 2015

From Hess Corp. today:

Operational Highlights for the Third Quarter of 2015:
Bakken (Onshore U.S.): Net production from the Bakken increased approximately 31 percent to 113,000 boepd from the prior-year quarter due to continued drilling activities. The Corporation brought 48 gross operated wells on production in the third quarter of 2015 bringing the year-to-date total to 185 wells. Drilling and completion costs per operated well averaged $5.3 million in the third quarter of 2015, down 26 percent from the year-ago quarter. During the quarter, the Corporation operated 7 rigs.
Utica (Onshore U.S.): On the Corporation’s joint venture acreage, 5 wells were drilled and net production averaged 28,000 boepd in the third quarter of 2015 compared with 11,000 boepd in the prior-year quarter. The Corporation completed the sale of an additional 13,000 dry gas exploration acres for a sale price of approximately $120 million, including a note in the amount of $37 million.
Gulf of Mexico (Offshore U.S.): Net production from the Gulf of Mexico was 83,000 boepd compared to 70,000 boepd in the prior-year quarter, with higher volumes from Tubular Bells, which totaled 19,000 boepd in the third quarter of 2015, being primarily offset by lower production from the Llano Field. At the Hess-operated Stampede development project, drilling is expected to begin in early 2016.

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Activists urge EPA to investigate water pollution from drilling

By Bob Downing Published: October 28, 2015

From a press release today from Earthworks:

Fracking-Harmed Residents Travel to Washington, D.C. to Call On EPA to Stop Ignoring Its Own Science on Water Pollution

Advocates call on EPA to correct its finding of “No evidence of widespread, systemic pollution”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today residents from communities across the country with fracking contaminated drinking water joined with advocates at the Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board public meetings to demand that EPA stop ignoring its own evidence of fracking water pollution, and correct the faulty declaration that the agency did “not find evidence that [fracking has] led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources”.

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EdgeMarc closes $300 million equity commitment

By Bob Downing Published: October 28, 2015

From a press release:

CANONSBURG, Pa., October 26, 2015
EdgeMarc Energy Holdings, LLC (EdgeMarc or the Company), today announced that it had closed on an incremental $300 million equity commitment bringing total equity commitments to over $750 million. Existing investors including funds managed by the Merchant Banking Division of Goldman Sachs (Goldman Sachs) were joined by new investor Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (Ontario Teachers’) through its Private Capital group.
EdgeMarc is a leading exploration and production company focused on the Marcellus and Utica shales with 35 employees based in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. The Company has acquired over 50,000 net acres across Monroe and Washington Counties in Ohio and Butler County in Pennsylvania and is actively drilling and producing natural gas and natural gas liquids in these areas.
“EdgeMarc represents an opportunity to invest in one of North America’s most attractive natural gas basins,” said Jane Rowe, Senior Vice-President of Teachers’ Private Capital. “The company’s strong management team has a well-defined approach to value creation, and we look forward to supporting their growth efforts.”
“We are pleased to welcome Ontario Teachers’ to EdgeMarc, and we believe that the partnership will help EdgeMarc execute on its development and growth strategies. With this new equity, EdgeMarc is well capitalized to enable it to continue its current drilling operations and to take advantage of opportunities that this environment may present.” said Scott Lebovitz of Goldman Sachs.
“EdgeMarc continues to focus on best-in-class execution, to be well positioned on the cost curve and to prudently take advantage of growth opportunities. It speaks to the quality of the team and the asset position to be entrusted with incremental capital from two major private equity investors,” said Tim Holt, one of EdgeMarc’s lead directors and also a partner in Edgewater Energy LLC (an investor in EdgeMarc).
For all inquiries please reach out to Andrea Barnes, abarnes@edgemarcenergy.com
About EdgeMarc
EdgeMarc is an exploration and production company headquartered in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania with over 50,000 net acres across Monroe and Washington Counties, Ohio and Butler County, Pennsylvania. For more information visit www.edgemarcenergy.com
About Ontario Teachers'
The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan (Ontario Teachers') is Canada's largest single-profession pension plan, with $154.5 billion in net assets as of December 31, 2014. It holds a diverse global portfolio of assets, 80% of which is managed in-house, and has earned an annualized rate of return of 10.2% since the plan’s founding in 1990. Ontario Teachers’ is an independent organization headquartered in Toronto. Its Asia Pacific region office is located in Hong Kong and its European, Middle East and African region
office is in London. The plan, which is fully funded, invests and administers the pensions of 311,000 active and retired teachers in Ontario. For more information, visit otpp.com and follow us on Twitter @OtppInfo.
About Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division Since 1986, the Merchant Banking Division of Goldman Sachs has raised over $140 billion of capital in equity, credit and real estate funds to invest in a variety of geographies, industries and transaction types. With Merchant Banking representatives in six countries around the world, Goldman Sachs is one of the largest managers of private capital globally, offering deep expertise and long-standing relationships with companies, investors, entrepreneurs and financial intermediaries. Goldman Sachs is a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm that provides a wide range of financial services to a substantial and diversified client base that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments and high-net-worth individuals. Founded in 1869, the firm is headquartered in New York and maintains offices in all major financial centers around the world. For more information, please visit www.gs.com/pia

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Ohio EPA proposal on compressor station permits challenged

By Bob Downing Published: October 28, 2015

From a press release:

 

OHIO EPA AIR PERMITTING SCHEME CHALLENGED

 

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Youngstown speaker is expert on health impacts of drilling

By Bob Downing Published: October 28, 2015

From a press release:

Health Impact Assessment for Unconventional Gas Extraction and Production

Dr. Larysa Dyrszka, M.D.
Concerned Health Professionals of New York

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015, 7 p.m.
Cushwa Hall Room B100
Youngstown State University

Website: www.tinyurl.com/YSU-F15-Energy

Dr Larysa Dyrszka is a graduate of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.  Following residency and board certification in pediatrics, she practiced general pediatrics and held the position of Director of Pediatrics at Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck, NJ.

Her recent work has been focused on children’s rights with the Conference of NGOs at the United Nations Committee on Children’s Rights, particularly human trafficking.  She is a United Nations representative to ECOSOC with the World Federation of Ukrainian Women’s Organizations.

She has been a SUNY (State University of New York) Sullivan Community College Board of Trustees member since 2009, appointed by Governor Paterson, and currently serves as secretary of the Board.

Dr Dyrszka has become an advocate for public health on the issue of natural gas exploration and production.  She is a founding member of Sullivan Area Citizens for Responsible Energy Development, vice-chair of Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy CME curriculum committee and on the steering committee of Damascus Citizens for Sustainability.  Together with fellow NY medical colleagues, she founded Concerned Health Professionals of New York.  CHPNY has recently released the third edition of Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking (concernedhealthny.org/compendium/)

The compendium documents ten emerging trends.
1) Growing evidence shows that regulations are simply not capable of preventing harm.
2) Fracking threatens drinking water
3) Drilling and fracking emissions contribute to toxic air pollution and smog at levels known to have health impacts.
4) Public health problems associated with drilling and fracking, including occupational health and safety problems, are increasingly well documented.
5) Natural gas is a bigger threat to the climate than previously believed.
6) Earthquakes are a consequence of drilling and fracking-related activities in many locations.
7) Fracking infrastructure poses serious potential exposure risks to those living near it.
8) Drilling and fracking activities can bring naturally occurring radioactive materials to the surface.
9) The risks posed by fracking in California are unique.
10) The economic instabilities of fracking further exacerbate public health risks.

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.

Dr. Ray Beiersdorfer
Distinguished Professor of Geology
Dept. of Geological & Environmental Sciences
Youngstown State University
Youngstown, Ohio 4455

(330) 941-1753
ray@cc.ysu.edu

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Drilling in Pennsylvania hikes firewood costs in New England

By Bob Downing Published: October 28, 2015

From the Associated Press:

By Rik Stevens
Associated Press
CONCORD, N.H.: Northeasterners who are digging deeper into their pockets to pay for firewood this season can add a new scapegoat to the roster of usual market forces: fracking.
Yep, a timber industry representative in New Hampshire said those hydraulic fracturing well sites in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale formation to suck natural gas out of the ground are using construction “mats” made of hardwood logs — think of the corduroy roads seen in sepia-toned photographs from the 1800s — to get heavy equipment over mucky ground, wetlands or soft soils.
That increased demand has crept down the chimney into fireplaces. Prices in parts of New England are averaging $325 a cord and can even push past $400 for a seasoned, delivered load. That’s anywhere from $50 to $75 more a cord than last year — or an increase of 18 to 23 percent.
Jasen Stock, executive director of the New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association, said it’s not just fracking sites that are hogging the logs. Pipelines and transmission wires — really any large-scale construction project — have in the past three years ramped up the appetite for the perfect mat log: a hardwood trunk, 16 to 20 feet long and 8 to 10 inches in diameter.
As a result, the cost of cordwood on the stump (that is, live trees) went from $10 in 2012 in northern New Hampshire to $15 this year, Stock said.
“If you’re putting in a power line or gas line over wetlands or soft soil, they use thousands and thousands of these mats, and they’re made of hardwood logs,” Stock said. “If you’re in the firewood business, that’s your sweet spot. That’s the log you want.”
About 2.5 million households in the U.S. burned wood to keep warm in 2013, just 2.1 percent of total households but up from the 1.7 percent that stoked stoves in 2005, according to the U.S. census. The percentages get significantly higher in more heavily forested New England states like Vermont (16.3 percent), Maine (12.7) and New Hampshire (7.7), as well as the Pacific Northwest, including Idaho (7.8) and Oregon (7.1).
While New England shivered and shoveled through the winter whomping of 2014-15, the Pacific Northwest stayed mild, meaning more supply and steadier prices this year.
If the National Weather Service’s forecast of a warmer-than-average winter in New England holds up, that could mean fewer logs burned this winter, more robust stockpiles of seasoned wood come springtime and potentially lower prices next year. But it won’t help consumers who’ve already locked in their supplies this fall.
Other uses — pulp and paper mills still value hardwood and pellet producers and biomass plants also nibble on stockpiles — have also given loggers more markets.
“There’s only so much wood around,” said Jonathan Clark, owner of Treehugger Farms in Westmoreland, N.H. The price for his kiln-dried cord went up $10 this season, to $360. Demand, he said, has stayed the same.
“Our calls started early this year and have continued steady,” he said. “Even now, we’re getting people who are having trouble getting their wood in.”
When oil prices started to bubble up, more people in the forest states saw wood as a desirable, locally sourced, cleaner and cheaper alternative. But even as heating oil prices tanked this year, wood got more expensive.
In Maine, where seasoned firewood is selling for about $300 a cord or more, many customers are buying less firewood because of heating oil prices around $2 a gallon. A few are even ditching firewood altogether.
“In a year where oil spikes, we just can’t crank the firewood out fast enough. But this just isn’t one of those years,” said Jeff Lemon from Four Seasons Firewood in Searsmont, Maine.

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Activists to protest at EPA Science Advisory Board meeting

By Bob Downing Published: October 28, 2015

From a press advisory on Tuesday from Earthworks and Food & Water Watch:

Earthworks * Food & Water Watch

****MEDIA ADVISORY for Wednesday, October 28 at 10AM****

Fracking-Impacted Residents Join Advocates to Call on Science Advisory Board to Include Omitted Water Pollution Cases in EPA Study

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Poll says Colorado voters support oil, gas drilling

By Bob Downing Published: October 28, 2015

From a press release on Tuesday:

DENVER, Oct. 27, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For the 2016 election, 68 percent of registered Colorado voters say they are more likely to support a candidate who supports producing more oil and natural gas, according to a new telephone poll conducted for the Colorado Petroleum Council (CPC) by Harris Poll among 604 registered Colorado voters.

"This poll shows that energy is a top issue for voters next year because it plays a key role in job creation and economic growth," said Tracee Bentley, executive director of the CPC. "Colorado voters understand the opportunities that pro-development policies create and the need for an all-of-the-above energy policy that helps produce more domestic energy and lower energy costs for American consumers." 

Seventy-eight percent of registered Colorado voters support increased production of oil and natural gas resources located here in the U.S., and the poll also found that:

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Grass-roots group to meet Nov. 5 on Nexus compressor station

By Bob Downing Published: October 27, 2015

 A grass-roots group in Medina County is holding a town hall meeting on Nov. 5 on a planned compressor station that will be built to operate the Nexus Pipeline.
The meeting, organized by Sustainable Medina County, will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Guilford Township Town Hall, 3800 Greenwich Road, outside Seville.
Speakers will include legal, environmental and health experts plus an individual who lives near a high-pressure compressor station.
For more information, go to www.sustainablemedinacounty.org.

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Chesapeake Energy starts re-signing leases in Columbiana Co.

By Bob Downing Published: October 27, 2015

Oklahoma-based Chesapeake Energy Corp. has re-signed 63 expiring drilling leases with landowners in Ohio's Columbiana County.

That includes 23 leases in Wayne Township, officials said.

Click  here  to read more.

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PDC's chief financial officer to retire in June 2016

By Bob Downing Published: October 27, 2015

From a Monday press release:

DENVER, October 26, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- PDC Energy, Inc. ("PDC", the "Company," "we" or "us") (NASDAQ:PDCE) today announced that Gysle Shellum, Chief Financial Officer ("CFO"), will retire from the Company effective June 30, 2016. Mr. Shellum joined the Company in 2008 and has served as CFO since that time. He will continue to serve as CFO until the appointment of his successor, and thereafter will assist the Company with the transition and other matters.

"PDC has had a remarkable run since I arrived in 2008. I am privileged to be a part of one of the top teams in the industry and I will leave the Company in the best of hands next year. I am looking forward to taking a step back from day to day management and enjoying more time to pursue less demanding interests. I know I will miss my PDC family after I retire, however I will remain a loyal shareholder and participate in what I know will prove to be a very bright future for the Company," said Shellum.

Bart Brookman, the Company's Chief Executive Officer, stated "Gysle has been a key part of the PDC team leading the Company to significant growth in cash flow and production throughout his tenure, and has played an integral role in helping the Company maintain an incredibly strong balance sheet. His deep knowledge of the operational, financial and accounting aspects of our industry has been enormously valuable to the Company over the years."

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Ohio: 1,624 drilled Utica wells, 1,026 producing Utica wells

By Bob Downing Published: October 27, 2015

Ohio has approved 2,066 Utica Shale drlling permits, as of Oct. 24.

That total includes 1,624 drilled Utica wells and 1,026 producing Utica wells, says the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Ohio has 24 drilling rigs at work.

A total of 23 new permits were approved: 14 in Belmont County, four in Monroe County and five in Noble County.

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CONSOL Energy reports big production from Monroe Co. well

By Bob Downing Published: October 27, 2015

From a press release today:

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 27, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- CONSOL Energy Inc. (NYSE: CNX) reported net income attributable to CONSOL Energy shareholders of $119 million for the quarter, or $0.52 per diluted share. This compares to a net loss attributable to CONSOL Energy shareholders of $2 million, or ($0.01) per diluted share from the year-earlier quarter. EBITDA attributable to CONSOL Energy shareholders was $374 million for the 2015 third quarter, compared to $201 million in the year-earlier quarter.

After adjusting for certain unusual items, which are listed in the EBITDA reconciliation table, the company had an adjusted net loss1 in the 2015 third quarter of $64 million, or ($0.28) per share. Adjusted EBITDA1 attributable to CONSOL Energy shareholders was $136 million for the 2015 third quarter, compared to $236 million in the year-earlier quarter. Cash flow from operations in the just-ended quarter was $110 million, compared to $293 million in the year-earlier quarter.

The third quarter earnings results included the following pre-tax items related to recent transactions:

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EPA to order gas-processing plants to report toxic pollution

By Bob Downing Published: October 27, 2015

From a press release today:

EPA TO PROPOSE RULE REQUIRING HUNDREDS OF NATURAL GAS PROCESSING PLANTS TO START REPORTING TOXIC POLLUTION

Victory for Groups that Sued EPA to Require the Oil and Gas Extraction Industry to Report to the Federal Toxic Release Inventory

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 27, 2015

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New pro-pipeline group forms in Ohio, Michigan

By Bob Downing Published: October 27, 2015

A new Ohio-Michigan coalition of businesses, trade groups and labor unions is trying to show a federal agency that there is widespread public support for natural gas pipelines.
The new group is called the Coalition for the Expansion of Pipeline Infrastructure (CEPI).
Ohio members include the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the Ohio Manufacturers Association, the Ohio Chemistry and Technology Council, the Ohio State Grange and the Ohio Hotel and Lodging Association.
Its formation comes at a time when two major pipelines to carry natural gas from Ohio’s Utica Shale to Michigan are seeking approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
The $4.2 billion Rover Pipeline and the $2 billion Nexus Pipeline would both cross northern Ohio. Locally, the Rover Pipeline would cross southern Stark and Wayne counties. The Nexus Pipeline would cross northern Stark, southern Summit and Medina counties.
The Rover Pipeline application is farther along the federal review process.
The pipelines would both extend north into Michigan and connect to existing pipelines and make Ohio natural gas available in the Midwest, Ontario and the Gulf Coast.
The Rover Pipeline, advanced by Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, would be 711 miles in length and extend into Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The main Ohio leg would be 204.5 miles in length. It would require two pipes that both be 42 inches in diameter.
The 250-mile, 36-inch-in-diameter Nexus Pipeline is being developed by Texas-based Nexus Gas Transmission LLC, along with Detroit-based DTE Energy and Texas-based Spectra Energy Partners.
The new coalition is an an effort to create additional “broad support” for both pipelines and other pipelines, said Charles Willoughby of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.
Part of that new effort is show FERC that there is widespread support for new pipelines in Ohio and Michigan, he said.
There is significant need for and interest in new pipelines in Ohio, Willoughby said.
Investing in pipeline infrastructure now will ensure access to affordable, cleaner-burning natural gas to heat homes and power businesses in the future, the coalition says.
Pipelines are the safest, most-efficient way of transporting natural gas to markets across the region and the nation, it says.
Building pipelines also creates additional economic benefits as steel makers produce pipes and the supply chain makes other components needed for such infrastructure, it says.
For information, go to http://expandpipelineinfrastructure.org.

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CELDF's Linzey to make Ohio speaking tour in November

By Bob Downing Published: October 27, 2015

Thomas Linzey, executive director of the Pennsylvania-based Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, is making an Ohio tour in November.

From Nov. 12-17, Linzey will speak in Youngstown, Athens, Oberlin, Defiance, Bowling Green and Columbus.

Linzey's group has aided Ohio communities and counties in seeking public votes on community bill of rights to thwart the drilling, injection wells and pipeline industries.

The tour is being billed as the Ohio 2015 Community Rights Tour.

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EID taking aim at CELDF and its efforts in Ohio, other states

By Bob Downing Published: October 27, 2015

From the pro-drilling Energy in Depth-Ohio:

 Watch here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iidJLfyHfc

 

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Platts launches new analytical service to aid customers

By Bob Downing Published: October 27, 2015

From a Monday press release:

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A look at shale drilling in two Pennsylvania watersheds

By Bob Downing Published: October 27, 2015

Yale Environment 360 looks at shale drilling in two Pennsylvania watersheds: the Delaware and the Susquehanna.

There has been virtually no drilling in the Delaware Basin because of a government agency, while there has been extensive drilling in the Marcellus Shale in Susquehanna Basin.

Click  here  to read author Bruce Stutz's report.

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Dominion Transmission dedicates W. Va. office building

By Bob Downing Published: October 26, 2015

From a press release last week:

Oct 21, 2015

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va., Oct. 21, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Dominion Transmission Inc. today dedicated its new office building in Bridgeport, renewing its century-long commitment to the Mountaineer State.

"Dominion Transmission and its employees have been good neighbors in the Clarksburg-Harrison County community and energy business partners in West Virginia since 1898," said Paul Koonce, chief executive officer of the Energy Infrastructure Group of Dominion. "With this new, beautiful building for our present and future employees, we are ready to continue that tradition and to provide excellent service in the growing natural gas transmission and storage industry."

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Philadelphia rail system to switch to Marcellus natural gas

By Bob Downing Published: October 26, 2015

SEPTA, Philadelphia's regional rail authroity, is looking at switching to natural gas to produce the electricity to power its rail operations.

The $26.8 million power plant would be fueled by cheaper Marcellus Shale natural gas.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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Well completions drop 44 percent in 3Q 2015, API says

By Bob Downing Published: October 26, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute last week:

WASHINGTON, October 22, 2015 – Estimated total U.S. oil and natural gas well completions decreased by 44 percent in the third quarter of 2015 compared to year-ago levels, according to API's 2015 Quarterly Well Completion Report, Third Quarter.

“Our growth as a global energy superpower has been a game-changer for U.S. energy security, creating hundreds of thousands of American jobs and sending more revenues to our government,” said Hazem Arafa, director of API's statistics department. “We can’t expect that growth to continue if our own outdated energy polices stand in the way. Reducing unnecessary regulations and allowing free trade for oil and natural gas will enable U.S. producers to compete effectively in the global market under a low-price environment.”

Estimated development oil well completions in 2015 third quarter decreased 45 percent compared to year-ago levels. Estimated development gas completions decreased 39 percent. Exploratory well completions for oil and natural gas were also down, and total well completions were down 44 percent.

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.

# # #

The 2015 API Quarterly Well Completion Report, Third Quarter is available for an annual subscription through API's primary distributor, IHS. If you would like to purchase an annual subscription to this report, please contact IHS at 1-800-854-7179, or visit their website at www.global.ihs.com.

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Duke Energy to acquire PiedmontNatural Gas for $6.7 billion

By Bob Downing Published: October 26, 2015

Duke Energy announced today that it is acquiring Piedmont Natural Gas for $6.7 billion.

Both companies are involved in natural gas pipelines from the Marcellus-Utica shales to North Carolina.

Click  here  to read the full statement.

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Beaver Valley power plant to be shuttered, no switch to gas

By Bob Downing Published: October 26, 2015

Virginia-based AES Corp. is closing its small coal-burning power plant in the Beaver Valley in western Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh Post-Gzazette reported last week..

The company had looked into converting the 125-megawatt plant at Potter, Pa., to natural gas but was unable to find buyers for the electricity.

The plant will, as a result, close two years earlier than had been scheduled.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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EnLink companies name newsenior vice president-commercial

By Bob Downing Published: October 26, 2015

From a press release last week:

DALLAS, October 21, 2015 EnLink Midstream, LLC (NYSE: ENLC) (the General Partner) and EnLink Midstream Partners, LP (NYSE: ENLK) (the Master Limited Partnership) today named Christopher H. Tennant to the position of Senior Vice President — Commercial. In his new role, Tennant will assume responsibility for the commercial functions of the NGL and crude oil teams.

“Chris is a proven leader and has been instrumental in the growth of our NGL business,” said Barry E. Davis, EnLink Midstream’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Chris’ experience with NGLs, crude oil, trucking, and rail capabilities make him a natural fit for this position. I am confident that by combining the efforts of our NGL and crude oil teams, we will continue to see opportunities for synergies and growth across the organization.” 

Tennant has over 20 years of experience in the energy industry. Prior to joining EnLink’s predecessor in 2010, he worked for Chevron Products as team leader of global supply and trading, where he managed domestic U.S. production, the development of commercial strategies, and global trading plans. Before that, he worked at Dynegy as regional manager of NGLs for the southwest and western United States. In both roles, Tennant also managed the commercial responsibilities for the company-owned truck and rail fleets.

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Range Resources used chemical, radioactive tracers

By Bob Downing Published: October 26, 2015

Range Resources used chemical and low-grade radioactive isotope “tracers” to chart and analyze the reach of hydraulic fracturing done on a gas well in Amwell in 2009, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently reported.

But, according to a motion filed in Commonwealth Court by attorneys for Loren “Buzz” Kiskadden, the gas drilling company didn’t tell nearby property owners in Washington County who were dealing with contaminated water wells.

It is a new twist in a drilling contamination lawsuit.

Click  here  to read report Don Hopey's story.

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Job creation lagging in West Virginia's Marcellus boom

By Bob Downing Published: October 26, 2015

The Marcellus Shale has triggered a natural gas production boom in West Virginia, but the number of jobs created has lagged, according to a September report from the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy.

Click  here  to read the report.

(With thanks to the Bricker & Eckler law firm).

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Pa. water contamination from surface operations, study says

By Bob Downing Published: October 26, 2015

From a recent press release from Yale University:

In the largest study of its kind, a Yale-led investigation found no evidence that trace contamination of organic compounds in drinking water wells near the Marcellus Shale in northeastern Pennsylvania came from deep hydraulic fracturing shale horizons, underground storage tanks, well casing failures, or surface waste containment ponds.

The presence of organic compounds in groundwater aquifers overlying the Marcellus Shale is likely the result of surface releases from hydraulic fracturing operations and not migration from gas wells or deep shale layers, according to researchers in the lab of Desiree L. Plata, assistant professor of chemical and environmental engineering at Yale. The results of the study were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Brian Drollette, a Ph.D. student in Plata’s lab, is the lead author.

Click  here  to read more from the university press release.

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IEA says worldwide global oil glut will continue in 2016

By Bob Downing Published: October 26, 2015

The International Energy Agency said that global oil markets will remain oversupplied next year as demand growth slows and Iranian exports are poised to recover with the lifting of sanctions, Bloomberg Business reported.

Click  here  to read more.

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Appalachian Basin cracker would provide $6 billion boost

By Bob Downing Published: October 26, 2015

Ohio, West Virginia and western Pennsylvania would benefit if one ethane cracker plant is built in the Appalachian Basin, according to a speaker at a recent conference in Wheeling.

It would be a $6 billion boost, according to Joe Eddy of Eagle Manufacturing.

There are four proposals on the table, although at least one is on hold.

The lack of ethane storage has hurt the region with ethane being shipped to the Gulf Coast and Ontario, he said.

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BP signs $10 billion LNG deal with China's Huadian Corp.

By Bob Downing Published: October 26, 2015

BP Plc. has signed a $10 billion deal to provide liquified natural gas to China's Huadian Corp. that operates power plants, Bloomberg Business reports.

Click  here  to read more.

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Pentagon Energy plans CNG mother station in Pennsylvania

By Bob Downing Published: October 26, 2015

From a press release:

HOUSTON and CORAL GABLES, Fla., Oct. 20, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Pentagon Energy LLC, “Pentagon Energy,” announced today that it has entered into its first Compressed Natural Gas (“CNG”) contract with a leading global Natural Gas merchant. Under the terms of the transaction the buyer has agreed to purchase up to 90 BCF of CNG for a period of 5 years for distribution in the U.S. North East region. Pentagon Energy is planning to develop its first Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Mother Station in the Marcellus shale region with the ability to compress up to 2.5 BCF per month.

“The buyer is one of the largest participants in the global gas markets and will be a strong foundation customer for our first CNG Mother Station in the US,” said Alberto Chiesara, Principal.  “Entering into this agreement is a significant milestone for our project and we look forward to working closely with this very important client to make this project a success.”

 

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Noble Midstream Partners files with SEC for IPO

By Bob Downing Published: October 26, 2015

From a Thursday press release:

Houston, Oct. 22, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Noble Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NBL) ("Noble Energy" or the "Company") announced today that its wholly owned subsidiary, Noble Midstream Partners LP ("Noble Midstream"), has filed a Registration Statement on Form S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC") in connection with its proposed initial public offering of common units representing limited partner interests. Noble Midstream's initial assets will consist of certain of the Company's DJ Basin crude oil, natural gas and water-related midstream services.

Noble Midstream intends to apply to list the common units on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "NBLX." The number of common units to be offered and the price range for the offering have not been determined. Noble Energy will own the general partner of Noble Midstream, all of its incentive distribution rights and expects to retain a majority of Noble Midstream's limited partner interests.

A registration statement relating to the common units has been filed with the SEC but has not yet become effective. The common units may not be sold nor may offers to buy be accepted prior to the time the registration statement becomes effective. This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy, nor shall there be any sale of these securities in any state or jurisdiction in which such an offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such state or jurisdiction.

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Cabot: 3Q production up slightly, profits drop slightly

By Bob Downing Published: October 26, 2015

Frm Cabot Oil and Gas Co., a major Pennsylvania driller, last week:

HOUSTON, Oct. 23, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation (NYSE: COG) today reported its financial and operating results for the third quarter of 2015. "Even in the face of persistent headwinds resulting from lower commodity prices, Cabot continues to deliver positive operating results while lowering our cost structure through an improvement in operating efficiencies and a strict focus on capital discipline," said Dan O. Dinges, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer.

Third Quarter 2015 Financial Results

Equivalent production in the third quarter of 2015 was 142.1 billion cubic feet equivalent (Bcfe), consisting of 133.0 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas and 1.5 million barrels (Mmbbls) of liquids (crude oil/condensate/natural gas liquids). These figures represent increases of 7 percent, 5 percent, and 57 percent, respectively, compared to the third quarter of 2014.

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Looking at new pipelines to move NGLs from Utica, Marcellus

By Bob Downing Published: October 26, 2015

Three Texas-based pipeline companies are investigating new projects to get natural gas liquids from the Utica and Marcellus shales to the Gulf Coast and Marcus Hook, Pa., for shipment overseas, reports the Bunker Port News, a trade publication.

The companies are Kinder Morgan, Enterprise Products Partners and Energy Transfer.

Click here  to read the full story.

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OOGA backs Ohio's severance tax recommendation

By Bob Downing Published: October 23, 2015

From the Ohio Oil and Gas Association on Thursday:

Ohio Oil and Gas Association Statement:
2020 Tax Policy Study Commission Severance Tax Recommendations
 

 

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

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EQT Corp. says production grew but company lost money in 3Q

By Bob Downing Published: October 23, 2015

Pittsburgh-based EQT Corp. reported that production grew by 27 percent in the third quarter 2015, but the company lost $50 million because of low commodity prices.

Click  here  to read the full press release.

 

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Southwestern Enery posts 3Q loss, despite record production

By Bob Downing Published: October 23, 2015

Houston-baeed Southwestern Energy Co. lost about $2 billion in the third quarter 2015 because of low commodity prices, despite record production.

The company is pleased with the drilling results from Appalachian Basin holdings it purchased late last year from Chesapeake Energy Corp. and Statoil.

Click here  to read more.

 

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American Energy Partners seeks help from investment bankers

By Bob Downing Published: October 23, 2015

American Energy Partners, the U.S. oil and gas venture of former Chesapeake Energy Corp  CEO Aubrey McClendon, has hired investment banks to find ways to shore up its finances, Reuters reports.

The move by the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma-based firm, which was founded by McClendon in 2013, highlights the cash crunch gripping the oil patch, as the industry deals with the worst crude price crash in more than six years.

McClendon's companies are a key player in Ohio's Utica Shale.

Click  here  to read more.

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United Arab Emirates to increase oil, natural gas production

By Bob Downing Published: October 23, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) was the world's sixth-largest oil producer in 2014, and the second-largest producer of petroleum and other liquids in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), behind only Saudi Arabia. Because the prospects for further oil discoveries in the UAE are low, the UAE is relying on the application of enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques in mature oil fields to increase production.

Read More ›

Tags: CAB (Country Analysis Brief) , liquid fuels , oil/petroleum , OPEC , production

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EQT Corp. to focus drilling in Utica Shale in Pa., W. Va.

By Bob Downing Published: October 23, 2015

Pittsburgh-based EQT Corp. intends to focus its drilling on the deeper Utica Shale in southwest Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia and will curtail drilling in the Marcellus Shale, at least for now.

Click  here  to read more.

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Oklahoma seeking notices from insurers on quake coverage

By Bob Downing Published: October 23, 2015

From the Associated Press on Tuesday:

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma’s insurance commissioner is asking insurance companies to send customers a notice to clarify whether their policies cover earthquake damage caused by things like mining or oil and gas exploration.

Commissioner John D. Doak said Tuesday insurers have 45 days to issue the notices to policyholders and insurance agents.

Doak says historically, earthquake insurance has excluded earth movement resulting from human activities such as mining, explosives and oil and gas exploration.

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Activist lawyers say new strategies needed on pipelines

By Bob Downing Published: October 21, 2015

Environmental lawyers say they may have to craft new legal strategies to effectively challenge interstate pipeline construction decisions by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, says NPR's StateImpact Pennsylvania.

Activists continue to accuse FERC of acting as a rubber stamp when it comes to approving pipeline projects. They argue the agency does not do an adequate environmental review.

FERC denies this, repeatedly saying their environmental reviews are rigorous.

Click  here to read more.

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Ohio has 1,614 drilled Utica wells, 1,022 producing Utica wells

By Bob Downing Published: October 21, 2015

Ohio has approved 2,047 Utica Shale drilling permits, as of Oct. 17.

That total includes 1,614 Utica wells that are drilled and 1,022 Utica wells that are producing, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said.

Ohio has 21 drilling rigs at work.

A total of 21 new permits were approved: 13 in Belmont County, three in Carroll County, three in Monroe County and two in Noble County.

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Portage County board calls for moratorium on injection wells

By Bob Downing Published: October 21, 2015

the Portage County Board of Health on Tuesday voted to seek a moratorium on new injection wells.

The request will go to the Ohio Deoartment of Natural Resources that oversees such wells.

The Portage health board becomes the first county health department in Ohio to declare injection wells a threat to human health and the environment.

County commissioners in Portage, Ashtabula, Trumbull and Athens have called for a moratorium on new injectrion wells.

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Ohio has approved 245 injection wells, 211 are operating

By Bob Downing Published: October 21, 2015

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has approved 245 injection wells for drilling wastes.

Of that total, 211 are actually operating in Ohio, the agency said.

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TransCanada eyes gas-fired power plant in Lebanon, Pa.

By Bob Downing Published: October 21, 2015

The company behind the Keystone XL pipeline is interested in acquiring a gas-fired power plant in Lebanon, Pa.

TransCanada wants to acquire the nearly 800-megawatt plant from Talen Energy for about $654 million.

The plant lies in the gas-rich Marcellus Shale and would bring TransCanada's fleet of power plants in the Northeast to 4,500 megawatts.

Click  here  to read more.

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Chesapeake fined $2.1 million for inaccurate production data

By Bob Downing Published: October 21, 2015

The federal government has levied a $2.1 million fine against Chesapeake Energy Corp., a key player in Ohio's Utica Shale, saying the oil and gas company failed to update inaccurate production reports used to assess the royalties it pays for drilling on American Indian land, Reuters reported today.

Click  here  to read more.

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Energy Recovery signs technology pact with Schlumberger

By Bob Downing Published: October 20, 2015

From a press release:

ENERGY RECOVERY SIGNS 15-YEAR LICENSE WITH SCHLUMBERGER TO PROVIDE EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS TO ITS VORTEQ™ HYDRAULIC FRACTURING TECHNOLOGY

 

Deal includes $125 million in upfront payments paid in stages to Energy Recovery

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Rosebud coal mine is topic of Nov. 5 meeting in Carroll County

By Bob Downing Published: October 20, 2015

From a press release from Carroll Concerned Citizens:

ODNR Shares Insight on Oversight of Rosebud’s Carrollton Mine

Carrollton, OH: In March, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) approved Rosebud Mining Company request to create a room-and-pillar coal mine of approximately 9,400 acres in Union and surrounding townships.
At its November 5 meeting, Carroll Concerned Citizens will host a question and answer session with representatives of ODNR’s Division of Mineral Resources Management. ODNR will provide an overview of the permit, applicable mining regulations, ODNR oversight and inspection procedures, and the process citizens should use should they have a complaint about the mine or associated operations. Attendees are encouraged to also bring their questions.
The meeting will begin at 7pm and will be held at the Church of Christ – Christian Disciples, 353 Moody Ave. Carrollton, OH. The meeting is free and open to the public.

 

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Pennsylvania to look at drilling impacts on poor, minorities

By Bob Downing Published: October 20, 2015

Pennsylvania’s Office of Environmental Justice is looking at whether drilling in the Marcellus Shale has increased the health and environmental risks in poor and minority communities, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

About 500 wells have been drilled in such communities.

Environmental justice communities are defined as those where at least 20 percent of the population is living below the poverty line or 30 percent are non-white.

The DEP’s 2014 state environmental justice map identifies 851 communities or municipalities that meet that criteria, including many in Cambria, Fayette, Forest, Greene, Potter and Washington counties, where numerous shale gas drilling and development sites exist.

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Hess Corp. seeking to sell its Utica Shale assets

By Bob Downing Published: October 20, 2015

Hess Corp., the oil and gas explorer that’s aggressively shed assets in recent years, is seeking buyers for its holdings in the Utica Shale basin, Bloomberg reported today.

The New York-based explorer is working with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to solicit bids for the assets, which could fetch as much as $500 million, the report said.

Click  here  to read the full account.

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Pa. court holds mineral rights do not expire if lease expires

By Bob Downing Published: October 20, 2015

From the BakerHostetler law firm:

A three-judge panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court has held that a reservation of oil, gas and mineral rights in a deed does not terminate merely because the lease under which those rights were previously leased has expired.

Rather, specific language is required in order to release oil, gas and mineral rights reserved by the grantor in a deed, the firm said on its blog.

Click here  to read the full story..

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Kinder Morgan, BP forming $350 million terminal JV

By Bob Downing Published: October 20, 2015

From Kinder Morgan today:

Kinder Morgan, Inc. today announced that the company has finalized agreements with BP Products North America Inc. to acquire 15 refined products terminals and associated infrastructure in the United States in a transaction valued at approximately $350 million.

Kinder Morgan and BP will form a joint venture limited liability company (JV) terminal business to own 14 of the acquired assets, which Kinder Morgan will operate and market on the JV’s behalf. One terminal will be owned solely by KMI.

The terminals, with approximately 9.5 million barrels of storage, are pipeline-connected to key refining and processing centers across the United States and offer extensive truck, vessel, and barge access and terminal service capabilities.

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Cuyahoga Valley, 11 parks getting new federal drilling rules

By Bob Downing Published: October 19, 2015

From a press release:

Note: The Cuyahoga Valley National Park between Akron and Cleveland in Northeast Ohio is one of the 12 parks.

 

National Park Service to update Oil and Gas Regulations

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Federal judge rules against township ban on waste wells

By Bob Downing Published: October 19, 2015

From a press release last week:

MEDIA STATEMENT
October 15, 2015

 

Contact:

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Federal judge rules against Pa. township waste well ban

By Bob Downing Published: October 19, 2015

A federal judge in western Pennsylvania has ruled against a township that tried an unusual means of blocking new drilling waste wells.

Indiana County's Grant Township had sought to have a waterway protected under a community bill of rights.

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

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Environment America pleased by Arctic lease cancellations

By Bob Downing Published: October 19, 2015

From Environment America on Friday:

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Department of the Interior said today it will cancel the two potential Arctic lease sales scheduled under the current offshore oil and gas leasing program for 2012 to 2017. The cancellation follows Shell’s announcement last month that it was abandoning immediate plans to drill in the Arctic.

Environment America praised the decision and called on the administration to withdraw plans to lease areas of the Arctic and the Atlantic Ocean for drilling from 2017 to 2022. Rachel Richardson, director of Environment America's Stop Drilling Program, issued this statement:
 
"This is a great move by the president, and great news for the fragile Arctic and the fight against global warming. Now the president should cancel his future plans to allow drilling in the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans -- protecting Atlantic sea turtles as well as polar bears, and continuing to move us toward a 100 percent clean energy future."

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API unhappy with Obama decision on Arctic offshore leases

By Bob Downing Published: October 19, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute on Friday:

WASHINGTON, October 16, 2015 – The API Director of Upstream Erik Milito released the following statement regarding the Obama administration’s decision to deny Arctic offshore development extension requests and scheduled 2016 and 2017 Arctic lease sales:

“Our industry’s strong interest in developing our country’s vast offshore oil and natural gas resources in Alaska was undermined years ago when the administration began implementing a system of regulatory and permitting unpredictability and uncertainty.  

“Investment decisions have been directly thwarted by the policy decisions of the administration related to Alaskan Outer Continental Shelf development, and lease extensions are clearly justified under the circumstances. And while it is not surprising that Interior canceled the remaining lease sales because there was an absence of nominations, it is the significant regulatory uncertainty that has created the reluctance on the part of our industry. Still, America’s oil and natural gas industry remains firmly committed to the long-term development of offshore Alaska resources.

“Arctic oil and natural gas represent incredible potential for American energy security, jobs and revenue for the government. Access to the region’s oil and natural gas resources will remain necessary to provide energy supplies to meet the world’s growing demand and vital to keeping America’s status as a world leader in energy.”

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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Appeal filed over Nexus Pipeline access in Medina County

By Bob Downing Published: October 15, 2015

Four landowners in Medina County have filed an appeal against the Nexus Pipeline being given approval to survey on private property.

The appeal to the Ohio 9th District of Appeals was filed on Tuesday.

On Oct. 6, Medina County Common Pleaas Judge Christopher Collier had given the Nexus Gas Tranmsission LLC permission to go on private property to survey for its $2 bilion pipeline across northern Ohio.

It would carry natural gas from Ohio's Utica Shale to the Midwest, Ontario and the Gulf Coast.

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Bakken drilling has impacted grassland birds, USGS says

By Bob Downing Published: October 15, 2015

From the U.S. Geological Survey today:

Many grassland bird species in the Bakken shale region, including some seriously declining populations, are displaced from their habitats as a result of oil and gas development, according to new U.S. Geological Survey research.

During 2012-2014, USGS and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service scientists studied Bakken grassland sites in northern North Dakota containing oil well pads, which are the gravel surfaces that house all oil extraction infrastructures. Overall, grassland birds avoided areas within 150 meters, or about 492 feet of gravel roads, 267 meters (about 876 feet) of single-bore well pads and 150 meters of pads with more than one well. These results suggest that detrimental effects of oil extraction on habitat extend considerably beyond the immediate oil well sites.

"Quantifying environmental degradation caused by oil development is a critical step in understanding how to better mitigate harm to valuable wildlife populations," said USGS scientist Sarah Thompson, the lead author of the report. "Our findings can help managers and developers determine the best locations for future infrastructure." 

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Indonesia rejoins OPEC, despite being petroleum importer

By Bob Downing Published: October 15, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) notified Indonesia that it plans to accept the country's request to reactivate its membership at the next OPEC meeting in December. Once it rejoins, Indonesia will regain its status as the only Asian member of OPEC and the only member that is a net importer of petroleum and other liquids.

Read More ›

Tags: imports , international , liquid fuels , oil/petroleum , OPEC

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Spain's Repsol to cut spending, sell assets in 2016-2020

By Bob Downing Published: October 15, 2015

From the Associated Press today:

Spanish energy company Repsol says it will sell 6.2 billion euros ($7.1 billion) in non-strategic assets and slash spending over the next five years as part of a plan to increase efficiency and cope with weak oil prices.

Repsol SA said Thursday that its 2016-2020 strategic plan calls for spending to be cut 38 percent without altering the company’s profile.

A drop in oil prices in recent months is forcing many energy companies to make significant adjustments.

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Marcellus Shale production drops, as pipeline capacity lags

By Bob Downing Published: October 15, 2015

Production in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania and West Virginia is expected to dip in 2015 from last year's levels.

The problem is that production is growing and available pipeline capacity cannot handle it all.

Click here  to read more from Bloomberg Business.

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Gastar Exploration to sell its Marcellus/Utica assets in W. Va.

By Bob Downing Published: October 15, 2015

From a press release:

HOUSTON, Oct. 14, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Gastar Exploration Inc. (NYSE MKT: GST) ("Gastar" or "the Company") today announced that it has entered into a definitive purchase and sale agreement to acquire additional working and net revenue interests in 103 gross (10.2 net) producing wells and certain undeveloped acreage in the STACK and Hunton Limestone formations in its Area of Mutual Interest ("AMI") from its AMI partner, Husky Ventures, Inc. ("Husky"), and certain other parties (collectively "Sellers").  The purchase price is approximately $43.3 million, subject to certain adjustments and customary closing conditions, and the conveyance of approximately 11,000 net non-core, non-producing acres in Blaine and Major Counties, Oklahoma to the Sellers.  The transaction is expected to close on or about November 30, 2015, with an effective date of July 1, 2015.  After closing, the AMI joint venture with Husky will be dissolved. The acquisition will be funded with borrowings under Gastar's revolving credit facility.

The transaction includes the acquisition of approximately 15,700 net acres in Kingfisher and Garfield Counties, Oklahoma, of which approximately 42% is held by production.  After closing, Gastar will own approximately 110,400 net acres in the Hunton Limestone Play, of which approximately 45% is held by production.  Gastar's exposure to the STACK play will be approximately 62,300 net acres in the Meramec Shale play and 48,900 net acres in the Woodford Shale play.

Current net production of the wells being acquired is approximately 625 barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) per day, of which 46% is oil, 26% is natural gas liquids and 28% is natural gas.  Gastar will assume operatorship of 70 of the 103 gross wells being acquired.  Based on our third-party reserve report at June 30, 2015, estimated proved reserves being purchased are approximately 1.2 million BOE, of which 43% is oil, 28% is natural gas liquids and 29% is natural gas.

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Gulfport Energy, Barnesville settle water lawsuit

By Bob Downing Published: October 15, 2015

Gulfport Energy Corp. and Barnesville have settled a lawsuit over water in eastern Ohio's Belmont County.

Gulfport had sued the municipality after it reneged on providing waterfrom the Slope Creek Reservoir to Gulfport for drilling in Ohio's Utica Shale.

Click  here for the full story. 

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Oil, natural gas production continue to drop, EIA reports

By Bob Downing Published: October 14, 2015

Oil and natural gas production in the seven major shale areas is continuing to plummet, reports the federal Energy Information Administration in its Drilling Productivity Report.

The drop from October to November will total 93,000 barrels of oil per day (the biggest drop since 2007) and natural gas will drop 294 million cubic feet per day (the fifth month in a row with declining production), the agency said.

Oil production will grow in the Utica and Permian, be even in the  Haynesville and drop in the Bakken, Eagle Ford, Macrellus and Niobrara.

For natural gas, there will be increases in the Utica, Permian and Haynesville and drops in the Bakken, Eagle Ford, Marcellus and Niobrara.

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New York to deploy firefighting foam along oil train routes

By Bob Downing Published: October 14, 2015

From the Associated Press today:

Firefighting foam used to fight oil train spills and fires is being deployed to 19 cities across New York state.

The foam concentrate is stored in trailers along with equipment needed to apply the foam to an oil spill. The foam forms a blanket over oil spills and contains fires.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the trailers are being placed in cities along the north-south and east-west routes of oil trains that cross the state, from Buffalo to Albany and Plattsburgh to Rockland County.

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Natural gas bills expected to be lower this winter, EIA says

By Bob Downing Published: October 14, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration:

Natural gas heating bills expected to be lower this winter

Nearly half of households in the United States use natural gas as their primary heating fuel, and they can expect a 10% decrease, on average, in their winter natural gas bills this year compared with last year. The decrease is the result of both lower year-over-year forecasted residential prices and a warmer winter compared to last year. The average natural gas consuming household can expect a total winter natural gas bill of $578 this winter, $64 less than last winter's average, according to EIA's Short-Term Energy and Winter Fuels Outlook. Markets are currently characterized by relatively low prices and strong supply.

Heading into the winter, EIA forecasts supplies will be abundant and working inventories of natural gas in storage will be at a record high of 3,956 billion cubic feet (Bcf) on October 31. If weekly injections remain strong in the coming weeks, it is possible that working inventories could surpass 4,000 Bcf. This would exceed the previous record of 3,929 Bcf set at the end of October 2012. EIA projects inventories next March will end this winter at 1,892 Bcf, which would represent a drawdown of 2,064 Bcf. This represents high March levels and a lower winter drawdown than in the previous five years (2011 — 15) —the five-year average end-of-March inventory level is 1,622 Bcf, and the average winter drawdown over these years is 2,176 Bcf.

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Central Ohio is getting its first horizontal well

By Bob Downing Published: October 14, 2015

Central Ohio is getting its first horizontal oil well.

The new well in Morrow County about 45 miles north of Columbus is about 125 miles away from the Utica Shale in eastern Ohio.

Texas-based EOR Technology Inc. is aiming for the Trempealeau limestone about 3,200 feet below the surface.

That formation was heavily drilled for oil in the 1960s.

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$200 billion in oil, gas assets for sale globally, IHS says

By Bob Downing Published: October 14, 2015

More than $200 billion worth of oil and natural gas assets are for sale globally as companies come under renewed financial pressure from the prolonged commodity price rout, according to IHS Inc.

Click  here  to read more from Bloomberg Business.

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Pa. well contamination likely from spills, leaks, study says

By Bob Downing Published: October 14, 2015

Contaminants related to shale gas production found in well water in Northeast Pennsylvania likely results from surface spills and leaks, rather than fluid migrating up from fracked wells, according to a new study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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

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Ohio has busy week with 33 new Utica Shale drilling permits

By Bob Downing Published: October 14, 2015

What drilling slowdown?

Ohio had what could be a record week for new permits for Utica Shale wells with 33 permits being filed.

That includes 19 permits for Belmont County, three in Guernsey County, five in Harrison County, three in Jefferson County and three in Monroe County.

Overall, Ohio has approved 2,041 Utica Shale permits, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources reported.

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Pennsylvania shale group releases new year-in-review video

By Bob Downing Published: October 14, 2015

From a press release today from the Marcellus Shale Coalition:

MSC Releases New Video: “The Faces of Shale"

Pittsburgh, Pa. - Following its annual meeting this week, the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) released a new year-in-review video titled The Faces of Shale.

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UCS says Ohio, 15 states are too dependent on natural gas

By Bob Downing Published: October 14, 2015

From a press release on Tuesday:

New Report Finds Ohio One of 16 States at High Risk of Natural Gas Overreliance

COLUMBUS, Ohio (October 13, 2015)—As the United States undergoes a dramatic shift in how it generates electricity, some states, including Ohio, are in danger of relying too much on natural gas rather than turning to affordable renewable energy sources like wind and solar power, according to a new analysis.

The analysis, Rating the States on Their Risk of Natural Gas Overreliance, released today by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), examines each state’s natural gas past, present and future to determine its risk of natural gas dependency and found that Ohio and 15 other states are at high risk of over-relying on natural gas, which could have significant financial consequences for electricity consumers.

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Port Ambrose LNG project gets favorable Coast Guard review

By Bob Downing Published: October 14, 2015

From a press release:

Coast Guard Issues Favorable Final Environmental Impact Statement for Port Ambrose

WASHINGTON, Oct. 14, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The United States Maritime Administration and U.S. Coast Guard issued its 4,242 page final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed Port Ambrose Project Deepwater Port Application this week. The EIS, confirms that the project is needed, the location is safe, and the impacts to the environment are minimal. 

For further information about the Port Ambrose project and a link to the comprehensive final EIS please visit www.portambrose.com

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Ohio researchers to look at pipeline impacts on farm soils

By Bob Downing Published: October 14, 2015

From the Ohio State University College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences on Tuesday:

WOOSTER, Ohio – Growers wondering what impact, if any, natural gas pipelines will have on crop productivity in their fields can sign up for a research project being conducted by researchers with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.

Steve Culman, an Ohio State University Extension specialist in soil fertility, is starting a pilot study to document the effects of pipeline installations on crop productivity over several years. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of the college.

The project, still in its beginning stages, needs to work with at least 20 to 30 farmers with pipelines in their fields over a period of three to five years. The goal is to compare crop productivity in areas disturbed by pipeline installation versus those adjacent areas that are not disturbed by pipelines, Culman said.

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Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia to cooperate on drilling

By Bob Downing Published: October 14, 2015

From the Associated Press on Tuesday:

By JULIE CARR SMYTH
Associated Press
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania have agreed to cooperate — rather than compete — in attracting shale-gas development and jobs to their region over the next three years.
The states signed an agreement Tuesday during the Tri-State Shale Summit in Morgantown, West Virginia. They agreed to coordinate marketing efforts, workforce development, investment strategies and academic research as they capitalize on Utica and Marcellus shale development “in an environmentally sound manner.”
Shale gas has become available through the horizontal drilling practice commonly known as fracking.
Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor said challenges and opportunities surrounding the industry “do not recognize state lines,” so collaboration is essential.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports the three states have had 85 percent of the increase in U.S. natural gas production since January 2012.

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Antero reports on 39 percent hike in production, new LNG deal

By Bob Downing Published: October 13, 2015

From a Tuesday press release:

DENVER, Oct. 13, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Antero Resources (NYSE: AR) ("Antero" or the "Company") today announced its third quarter 2015 operations update.

Highlights include:

Operating Update

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Cheaspeake Energy taps Martin to head Board of Directors

By Bob Downing Published: October 13, 2015

From a Monday press release:

OKLAHOMA CITY, Oct. 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) announced today that R. Brad Martin has been appointed non-executive Chairman of the Company's Board of Directors, effective immediately. As part of the transition, Archie W. Dunham will remain a director and has been named Chairman Emeritus. 

Dunham commented, "Chesapeake will benefit from Brad's unique insight and extensive business experience as he serves in his new role as Chairman of the Board. Chesapeake has a bright future, given its exceptional portfolio, operations, and management team. With all the meaningful changes we have made at Chesapeake over the past three years, significant opportunities lie ahead."

Martin, Chairman of RBM Ventures and Retired Chairman and CEO of Saks Incorporated, was appointed to Chesapeake's Board of Directors in June 2012. He also serves on the Board of Directors of FedEx Corporation and First Horizon National Corporation. He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Memphis and an MBA from Vanderbilt University. Martin has also served as Interim President of the University of Memphis.

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Appalachian Basin likely to get three or four ethane crackers

By Bob Downing Published: October 13, 2015

JACKSON TWP.: Ohio, western Pennsylvania and West Virginia are likely to see three or four ethane cracker plants built.
That analysis came from Tom Gellrich of TopLine Analytics, a Philadelphia company that closely follows ethane markets, at the Tuesday’s  Utica Summit III that drew 125 people to Kent State University’s Stark Campus.
Gellrich said he is confident that three or four cracker plants will be proceeding forward in the Appalachian Basin by 2020.
Royal Dutch Shell may be the company farthest along in developing a chemical plant to turn liquid ethane from the Utica Shale into ethylene, a key ingredient for making plastics, he said.
That plant, with a $4 billion price tag, would be west of Pittsburgh on the Ohio River in Beaver County. The company has not yet committed to building the plant, although it is the cracker plant that is most likely to be built, he said.
Shell likely make its final decision in the next 24 months and the plant could be running within five years or so, he said.
A Thai company, PTT Global Chemical, is looking at building a similar $5.7 billion cracker plant in Ohio’s Belmont County.
Braskem/Odebrecht, two Brazilian companies, are looking at a site near Parkersburg, W. Va. , although that proposal has run into problems.
A Texas-based company, Appalachian Resins, had been looking at a small cracker plant in Ohio’s Monroe County, but those plans are now on hold.
Other companies including foreign-based firms may yet get involved in cracker proposals, he said.
Cracker plants are very desirable because they create hundreds of construction jobs, will create permanent jobs and will attract chemical plants and other companies to locate nearby.
At present, ethane from the Utica and Marcellus shales is piped to the Gulf Coast for processing. That material is then returned to Northeast Ohio as ethylene used to make polyethylenes and other plastics, Gellrich said.
Northeast Ohio, not the Gulf Coast, is the center of the plastics processing industry and that industry will be taking off in the next 24 months as the flow of polyethylene grows, he predicted. That will accelerate as the price of plastics starts to drop, he said.
Consumers will start seeing the change to shale-produced plastics, he said.
That will include glass and cans in grocery stores being replaced by new plastics and wood in building decks, floors and counters being replaced by plastic woods and laminates, he said.
Ohio is likely to see new plants to produce farm fertilizers using chemicals produced from natural gas, he said.
The United States, he said, is at the tipping point for what he called the shale natural gas revolution. “This is enormous,” he said. Shale natural gas will provide a major boost to America’s plastics and chemical industries. It will also fuel a new boom in American manufacturing with its cheap energy, he said.
Ohio’s Utica Shale is poised to become a global energy market and international investments in the Utica Shale are growing, said Frederick Shepperd of the Swiss-based Shepperd Investors AG.
In the next 20 to 50 years, eastern Ohio will surpass Chicago and Texas as industrial centers and will rival Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, Doha in Qatar, Baku in Azabaijan and Astana and Atmatu in Kazakhstan, he predicted.

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Ohio man charged with stealing $100,000 in drilling items

By Bob Downing Published: October 12, 2015

An Ohio man has been arrested and charged with stealing $100,000 in materials from shale drilling wells in Pennsylvania's Greene Co.

Arrested is 42-year-old Matthew Bartimus of Bethesda in Belmont County.

Authorities say he stole drilling items from CNX sites on two dates in August. He was caught by workers at another drill site on Sept. 21 and held until state police arrived.

Click  here   to read more.

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EID criticizes new study linking fracking, premature births

By Bob Downing Published: October 12, 2015

From a press release distributed on Monday:

9:09pm EDT October 9, 2015

by Nicole Jacobs
nicole@energyindepth.org , Hughesville, Pa.

A new study released this week by researchers affiliated with the Post Carbon Institute (and Johns Hopkins Univ.) attempts to link fracking with premature births. But as we’ve seen with similar studies in the past, the actual data don’t support that conclusion. In this case, the authors are forced to acknowledge right up top that they cannot credibly link oil and gas activity to premature births. But, with that business taken care of, they proceed to imply that a connection probably does exist:

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Bankruptcy judge approves $446 million Quebec settlement

By Bob Downing Published: October 12, 2015

From the Associated Press on Friday:

A U.S. bankruptcy judge has approved a $446 million Cdn settlement fund for victims of the fiery Lac-Mégantic oil-train derailment in Quebec that killed 47 people.

Judge Peter Cary in Portland, Maine, announced his decision Friday after Canadian Pacific dropped its objection to the settlement moving forward and a Canadian judge gave conditional approval.

The settlement was the result of negotiations with about two dozen companies.

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Magnum Hunter hires advisors to develop alternatives

By Bob Downing Published: October 12, 2015

From a Friday press release:

IRVING, TX--(Marketwired - Oct 9, 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 it has hired PJT Partners LP (NYSE: PJT) (the combination of Blackstone's advisory businesses and PJT Capital LP, a global financial advisory firm founded by Paul J. Taubman), as financial advisor, and Kirkland & Ellis LLP, as special legal advisor, to advise management and the Company's Board of Directors regarding potential strategic alternatives to enhance liquidity and address the Company's current capital structure. As previously disclosed, the Company has actively worked to manage its balance sheet, including potential consummation of certain asset sales. With the addition of these advisors, the Company will continue to develop and explore all potential strategic alternatives.

To preserve liquidity as the Company considers these strategic alternatives, the Board of Directors of the Company has suspended the monthly dividends on its 10.25% Series C Cumulative Perpetual Preferred Stock ("Series C Preferred Stock"), 8.0% Series D Cumulative Preferred Stock ("Series D Preferred Stock") and 8.0% Series E Cumulative Convertible Preferred Stock ("Series E Preferred Stock"). This suspension commences with the monthly cash dividend that would otherwise have been declared and paid for the month ending October 31, 2015 and will continue indefinitely. The outstanding shares of Series E Preferred Stock are represented by depositary shares (the "Depositary Shares"), each representing a 1/1,000th interest of a share of Series E Preferred Stock. Under the terms of the Series C, Series D and Series E Preferred Stock, any unpaid dividends, including the unpaid dividends for the month ending October 31, 2015 and any future unpaid dividends, will accumulate.

The Series C Preferred Stock is currently listed on the NYSE MKT and trades under the ticker symbol "MHR.PRC". The Series D Preferred Stock is currently listed on the NYSE MKT and trades under the ticker symbol "MHR.PRD". The Depositary Shares are currently listed on the NYSE MKT and trade under the ticker symbol "MHR.PRE".

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National Day of Action against fracking set for Nov. 17

By Bob Downing Published: October 12, 2015

From a Sunday night press release:

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Condensate from Ohio, Pa. shipped to Holland by train, boat

By Bob Downing Published: October 12, 2015

The first shipment of condensate from the Utica and Marcellus shales to Europe was moved from Perth Amboy, N.J., to Holland last September, according to Reuters.

The condensate, an ultralight oil, was moved to Perth Amboy by rail from the MarkWest Energy processing plant in Cadiz in eastern Ohio.

It was loaded on a ship at the Buckeye Partners LP's facility in New Jersey.

The shipping deal also involves the investment arm of the Brazilian investment bank BTG Pactual.

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Business group opposes Youngstown community bill of rights

By Bob Downing Published: October 12, 2015

For the fifth time, a Youngstown-based business coalition has come out against a community bill of rights being pushed by a local grass-roots group.

Opposing the measure on the Nov. 3 ballot is the Mahoning Valley Coalition for Job Growth and Investment. It came forward last week.

Click  here  to read more.

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Deal to provide 39 compression engines for Rover Pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: October 12, 2015

From a press release last week on 39 compressors at nine compressor stations for the 711-mile Rover Pipeline that will cross northern Ohio:

Houston, TX – A total of 39 Cat® gas compression engines delivering in excess of 211,000 horsepower—the company’s largest ever single-project order—is headed to Ohio as part of a major new U.S.-based pipeline.

Twenty-one G3616, two G3612, one G3606 and three G3520 engines, as well as 12 G16CM34 units, will provide power at nine compressor stations along the 711-mile Rover Pipeline. When complete, the pipeline will transport domestically produced natural gas from processing facilities in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio to the Midwest, Northeast, East Coast, Gulf Coast and Canada.

“Caterpillar supports the sustainable development and responsible delivery of affordable and dependable energy sources through oil and gas pipelines such as the Rover Pipeline,” said Jeffery Elijah, Caterpillar Oil & Gas account manager. “In terms of the amount of horsepower, the Rover Pipeline is one of the biggest projects we’ve been involved with. It’s unique because it involves the largest gas compression units Caterpillar makes, the G16CM34s, along with multiple engines from our G3600 and G3500 product lines.”

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Inspections revealed rail defect before W. Va. oil train crash

By Bob Downing Published: October 12, 2015

Two separate tests in the months before a fiery oil train accident in West Virginia showed a rail defect.

But the parties involved failed to follow up and get that defect repaired, according to a new report.

The accident occurred Feb. 25 near Handley, W. Va., and involved a 107-car train carrying Bakken Shale oil to East Coast refineries.

Click  here  to read more.

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Turbine company gets deals with Utica, Marcellus drillers

By Bob Downing Published: October 12, 2015

From a press release last week (thanks to Jim Willis of the Marcellus Drilling News for catching it):

CHATSWORTH, Calif., Oct. 7, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Capstone Turbine Corporation (www.capstoneturbine.com) (Nasdaq:CPST), the world's leading clean technology manufacturer of microturbine energy systems, announced today that it recently received multiple orders from E-Finity Distributed Generation for microturbines to be used for oil and gas operations in the Marcellus and Utica Shale regions.

E-Finity Distributed Generation, Capstone's exclusive oil and gas distributor for the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays, secured multiple orders from two new customers. The orders came from two established gas producing companies in the heart of the Marcellus and Utica wet gas region.

One customer is turning to Capstone and E-Finity for a skid mounted option to power a well pad. The Pennsylvania-based energy company will power the site with a Capstone C30 MicroTurbine on a skid system designed and built for the customer by E-Finity. It includes a PLC-based controller, a 480V distribution panel, a 208V/120V distribution panel and a single gas connection.  The skid system will be used to power heat trace, site lighting and other miscellaneous loads, as well as allow them to bring their compression station online very quickly. The skid eliminates the need for separate electrical building and reduces construction and startup costs significantly.

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$18 million settlement in West Virginia pipeline accident

By Bob Downing Published: October 12, 2015

An $18 million settlement was announced last week in West Virginia in connection with a West Virginia pipeline accident.

The settlement covered the death of Bruce Phipps of Marietta.

He died in the April 2013 compressor station blast on an Eureka Hunter pipeline near Wicks, W. Va.

A Pennsylvania man also died.

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Hybrid Tool Solutions acquired by Hastings Equity Partners

By Bob Downing Published: October 12, 2015

Grom a press release last week:

BOSTON, Oct. 6, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Hastings Equity Partners ("Hastings"), a private equity firm focused on investing in lower middle market energy services and equipment companies, is excited to announce its fourth Fund III platform investment in Hybrid Tool Solutions, LLC ("Hybrid").

Headquartered in Lindsay, Okla., Hybrid provides its customers with a patent pending, revolutionary process for conducting frac plug drill outs. The Hybrid Tool is the most advanced system on the market because it simplifies the steps involved in stick pipe drill outs and tube ups. In addition to saving time, Hybrid offers its customers a higher safety standard and significant cost savings. Hybrid is active in the Marcellus Shale, Utica Shale and Mid-Continent.

"The Hybrid management team has done a terrific job establishing a market leading position in the Marcellus and Utica Basins in just over two years through its patent pending well completion process," said Ted Patton, managing director at Hastings. "We are looking forward to partnering with them to expand throughout the rest of the U.S. oilfield and beyond."

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N.C. General Assembly takes action to block local drilling bans

By Bob Downing Published: October 12, 2015

From the Associated Press last week:

The last bill the North Carolina General Assembly approved before adjourning this year was designed to stop local governments from trying to delay or restrict fracking in their own backyards.

Last week's legislation, inserted into a 41-page "technical corrections" bill approved in the middle of the night and that Gov. Pat McCrory later signed, is supposed to reinforce a 2014 ban on cities and counties from ordinances that prohibit hydraulic fracturing directly or indirectly.

The updated law now says all provisions of local ordinances that "regulate or have the effect of regulating" oil and gas exploration "are invalidated and unenforceable."

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Crestwood Midstream, Crestwood Equity to merge

By Bob Downing Published: October 12, 2015

From a Sept. 30 press release:

HOUSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Crestwood Equity Partners LP (NYSE: CEQP) (“Crestwood Equity”) and Crestwood Midstream Partners LP (NYSE: CMLP) (“Crestwood Midstream”) (collectively “Crestwood”) today announced the closing of the merger between Crestwood Equity and Crestwood Midstream following approval of the merger by Crestwood Midstream’s unitholders. Crestwood Equity’s common units will continue to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol CEQP, while Crestwood Midstream’s common units will cease to be traded on the New York Stock Exchange after the close of business on September 30, 2015.

Click  here  to read the full press release.

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NAM: Ban on oil exports is at odds with economic growth

By Bob Downing Published: October 9, 2015

From the National Association of Manfacturers today:

Manufacturers: It’s Time for Washington to Act on Outdated Policy

Ban on Crude Oil Exports Is at Odds with America’s Manufacturing Growth

 

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BlueGreen Alliance disappointed by House vote on oil exports

By Bob Downing Published: October 9, 2015

A press release today from the BlueGreen Alliance, a coalition of labor and environmentalists:

WASHINGTON, DC (October 9, 2015) – After the U.S. House of Representatives today voted to lift the long-standing ban on exporting crude oil, the BlueGreen Alliance released the following statement from Executive Director Kim Glas: 

“Congress’ unrelenting attacks on workers and our environment continued with their vote today to lift the crude oil export ban. 

“Refinery and related industry jobs strengthen our communities by providing good wages and benefits for workers. Lifting the crude oil export ban will provide an incentive for companies to offshore those jobs, hurting the men and women employed at refineries, and the economy of the communities they live in. This vote will also undermine our progress on environmental standards, such as the EPA’s Tier 3 sulfur standard rule, which will reduce asthma attacks and other health impacts by eliminating millions of tons of harmful emissions from our atmosphere. 

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IPAA applauds House vote opening door to crude exports

By Bob Downing Published: October 9, 2015

From a Friday press release:

IPAA Applauds Bipartisan House Vote Opening the Door to U.S. Crude Exports

 

WASHINGTON, D.C.– Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) welcomed final passage by the U.S. House of Representatives on bipartisan legislation to lift the trade restrictions on U.S. crude oil exports, which would further enhance our economic and national energy security, strengthen America’s geopolitical standing around the world, and provide meaningful benefits to American families and consumers.

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API hails House vote on lifting crude oil export ban

By Bob Downing Published: October 9, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute today:

WASHINGTON, October 9, 2015 ─ Bipartisan legislation approved today by the U.S. House of Representatives would lift 1970s-era restrictions on crude exports, yielding economic opportunities for millions of Americans, said API.

“Today’s vote starts us down the path to a new era of energy security, saving consumers billions and creating jobs across the country,” said API President and CEO Jack Gerard. “American producers would be able to complete on a level playing field with countries like Iran and Russia, providing security to our allies and accelerating the energy revolution that has revitalized our economy.  

“Study after study has confirmed the jobs, fuel savings, and economic growth that free trade in oil could bring to U.S. consumers and workers. As the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported, lifting the ban could increase the value of U.S. crude and incentivize domestic production, which puts downward pressure on global oil prices and the prices that consumers pay for fuel.

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Environment America against crude export ban being lifted

By Bob Downing Published: October 9, 2015

From a Friday press release from Environment America:

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. House voted today to lift the decades-old ban on crude oil exports, a top priority of the oil and gas companies that would worsen global warming and heighten the risk of harmful spills. This week the White House said the president would veto the bill if it cleared the Senate, where its prospects are less certain.
 
Allowing U.S. crude oil to be shipped overseas could increase drilling by as much as 3.3 million gallons per day over the next 20 years, increasing global warming pollution by 22 million metric tons per year – the equivalent of five coal plants. Shipping the extra oil drilled would also increase the threat of pipeline and oil train accidents.
 
Environment America executive director Margie Alt issued the following statement:
 
“Lifting the oil export ban would be a blessing on the oil companies but a curse on the climate and our health. To avoid more global warming impacts like the floods, drought and intense storms already devastating parts of our country, we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground and transition to 100 percent pollution-free energy. We're counting on the president and senators to stand up to Big Oil and the dirty energy sources of the past by keeping the ban in place and advancing a clean energy future.” 
 

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Report cites 'systematic problems' with Calif. injection wells

By Bob Downing Published: October 9, 2015

From a Thursday press release from the Center for Biological Diversity:

California Report Finds 'Systemic Problems' in Oversight of L.A.-area Oil Wells

Oil Regulators Permitted Underground Injection Wells Before Assessing Water Pollution Threats

LOS ANGELES— California oil regulators today released a report that found “systemic problems” in the state’s regulation of oil industry underground injection in the Los Angeles area. The report admits that oil companies have been allowed to drill wells and begin injecting fluid underground before any assessment of contamination risks to underground water supplies in and around America's second-largest city.

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California group troubled by JH report on premature births

By Bob Downing Published: October 9, 2015

From a Thursday press release from the Oakland-based Center for Environmental Health:

CEH Statement on the Johns Hopkins Study on Fracking and Premature Births

The Center for Environmental Health is deeply disturbed by findings today released by John Hopkins researchers showing that women who live near fracking operations may face a higher risk of premature births and high-risk pregnancies.

The CEH Report, Toxic and Dirty Secrets, predicted that fracking could lead to health problems for women and children like those reported by the research released today. As our report documents, chemicals used in fracking can pollute the nearby air and water, with dangerous consequences especially for children and pregnant women. The CEH paper notes,

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Company responds to suit against American Energy Utica

By Bob Downing Published: October 9, 2015

Ascent Resources LLC has responded to a lawsuit filed by nearly 70 landowners in eastern Ohio against its predecessor company, American Energy Utica LLC.

Ascent Resources is seeking to dismiss claims that it owes more than $9.2 million in overdue lease signing bonuses and court fees.

The suit was filed in Jefferson County Common Pleas Court.

Click  here  to read more from NGI's Shale Daily.

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Wolf signs bill to use mine water in fracking in Pennsylvania

By Bob Downing Published: October 9, 2015

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf on Thursday signed legislation that will enable drillers to use treated mine water for hydraulic fracturing or fracking.

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

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Continued decline in residual fuel oil demand is likely, EIA says

By Bob Downing Published: October 9, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

Health and environmental concerns related to the high sulfur content of residual fuel oil (RFO) have led to new policies and regulations that have significantly lowered expectations for future RFO use globally. As the demand for RFO declines, the need for the refining upgrades to convert residual material to lighter, cleaner products will increase.

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Tags: crude oil , refining

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API releases updated hydraulic fracturing standards

By Bob Downing Published: October 9, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute on Thursday:

WASHINGTON, October 8, 2015 ─ New editions of API’s hydraulic fracturing standards provide the latest technical direction for operators working to continuously improve well integrity, groundwater protection, and environmental safety. Last updated in 2011, API’s standards for shale development have worked alongside robust state regulations to ensure safe and responsible energy development with hydraulic fracturing for over 65 years.
    
“Hydraulic fracturing has unlocked vast energy resources, saving billions for consumers and putting America on a path to true energy security,” said API Director of Standards David Miller. “Strong standards are key to America’s success as an energy leader, and that’s why we bring together regulators and operators to promote proven practices for environmental protection. This update provides the latest guidance on equipment, monitoring, storage, and installation.”
   
Dubbed ANSI/API RP 100-1 and 100-2, the two new standards provide detailed specifications for pressure containment and well integrity, as well as environmental safeguards, including groundwater protection, waste management, emissions reduction, site planning, and worker training. The release follows last year’s publication of ANSI/API Bulletin 100-3, which outlines community engagement guidelines to help operators communicate effectively with local residents and pursue mutual goals for community growth.
   
“Like all our guidelines on hydraulic fracturing, the new standards will be accessible to the public on our website and shared with regulators at every level of government,” said Miller. “Our voluntary standards serve as an important source of information for state regulators, who finalized an estimated 82 groundwater-related rules for oil and gas production, including hundreds of discrete rule changes, from 2009 to 2013 alone. As the EPA recently confirmed, these efforts have allowed America’s energy sector to achieve a track record of proven safety while growing our economy and cutting U.S. carbon emissions to near 27-year lows.”
   
API first began publishing standards in 1924 and currently has over 650 standards and technical publications. Over 100 of them have been incorporated into U.S. regulations, and they are the most widely-cited industry standards by international regulators. The program is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the same body that accredits programs at several national laboratories.
  
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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Columbiana County to get $1.1 billion gas-fired power plant

By Bob Downing Published: October 8, 2015

Columbiana County is getting a $1.1 billion power plant that will burn natural gas to produce electricity.
It will be the sixth new gas-fired power plant being built in Ohio and it is being developed because of plentiful natural gas from the Utica Shale.
The new plant is part of growing trend as cleaner-burning natural gas replaces coal as the No. 1 fuel to produce electricity with new federal clean-air rules forcing aged and dirty coal-fired plants to close.
The new plant is being planned and developed by the same company that is building a similar $899 million plant in Carroll County.
South Field Energy LLC on Thursday  made the announcement of the new 1,100-megawatt plant.
One megawatt can power between 600 and 1,000 houses. The new plant, to be called the South Field Electric Generating Facility, could heat up to 880,000 houses.
The new plant is great news for Columbiana County, said county Commissioner Mike Halleck.
“We are very excited about the announcement of South Field Energy’s new natural gas fired power plant,” he told the media. “Not only will it bring a boost to our economy through jobs and tax revenues, it will also directly support our local schools. This is just another example of how the oil and gas industry continues to help improve our county.”
South Field Energy is a subsidiary of Boston-based Advanced Power AG.
The project is completing environmental studies and will be applying for the needed permits, said spokesman Jonathan Winslow.
Additional information will soon be posted at www.southfieldenergy.com.
The proposed plant will be located three miles northwest of Wellsville in Yellow Creek Township.
It will be built on 20 acres within a 150-acre tract. It will require a three-mile electric line to connect with the Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp. electric system.
Construction on the new plant is expected to begin in late 2017 and could take 30 months to complete. The plant could be operation by late 2019 or early 2020.
The plant would employ 25 workers and create about 550 construction jobs over three years.
Initial paperwork for the Columbiana County plant has been filed with the Ohio Power Siting Board.
The new plant will be the subject of a board-backed public meeting on Oct. 20 at Wellsville High School, 1 Bengal Way, Wellsville. It will run from 6 to 8 p.m.
Advanced Power said last July at the Carroll County ground-breaking that it was developing plans for a second gas-fired plant in Ohio.
The 750-megawatt Carroll County plant is under construction on 77 acres north of Carrollton off state Route 9. It is expected to begin production in December 2017. An estimated 700 construction jobs and 21 permanent jobs will be created.
The two plants will combine gas turbines and steam boilers, making them more efficient and cleaner than coal-fired plants.
“Ohioans face a growing gap in energy production,” Winslow said in a statement. “With facilities like this, we can begin to close that gap by using advanced tecghnology to produce substanial, reliable power, while also minimizing our environmental footprint.”
Advanced Power has gas-fired plants under development in Massachusetts and New York state.
The new plant is among six gas-fired plants by private companies under construction in Ohio with a total price tag of $4.86 billion.
In addition to Columbiana and Carroll counties, the other gas-fired plants being developed and expected to be operational by 2019 are in Lordstown in Trumbull County (Clean Energy Future), Middletown (NTE Energy LLC), Vinton County (Rolling Hills Power Co.) and Oregon (Oregon Clean Energy).
Those six projects together will result in expenditures of $4.86 billion and will produce 5,338 megawatts of electricity, said Jackie Stewart of Energy in Depth-Ohio, a pro-drilling trade group. That is enough electricity to power nearly 4.3 million homes.
Akron-based FirstEnergy has no plans to add natural gas as a fuel, said spokeswoman Stephanie Walton.
Despite the boom in gas-fired plants, Akron’s FirstEnergy Corp. has no plans to switch existing plants to natural gas, spokeswoman Stephanie Walton said.
It operates a 545-megawatt gas-fired plant in Lorain and has five gas-fired plants in Pennsylvania, Those plants together can produce 1,447 megawatts. They are used for peak periods when electric demand is high and more electricity is needed.
The company scrapped plans to switch to natural gas at its 1,710-megawatt Hatfield Ferry plant in Masontown, Pa., she said.
Natural gas produces 8 percent of the electricity produced by FirstEnergy companies, Walton said.
Last summer, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that natural gas is producing more electricity than coal for the first time in the United States.
According to the federal agency, natural gas accounted for 31 percent of all electricity produced in the United States in April to coal’s 30 percent. Nuclear power produced 20 percent.

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Encana sells off Colorado oil, natural gas assets

By Bob Downing Published: October 8, 2015

Calgary-based Encana Corp. is selling off its oil and natural gas assets in Colorado's DJ Basin for $900 million to reduce debt.

The new buyer is 95 percent owned by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

Click  here  to read more from Bloomberg Business.

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Here's closer look at Gulfport Energy, Rice Energy JV

By Bob Downing Published: October 8, 2015

Two of the key drilling companies in eastern Ohio have formed a new joint venture in the Utica Shale.
Oklahoma-based Gulfport Energy Corp. and a subsidiary of Pennsylvania-based Rice Energy Inc. have agreed to develop natural gas-gathering pipelines and water services to support Gulfport’s drilling for natural gas in eastern Belmont and Monroe counties.
The announcement came on Thursday.
Gulfport and Rice plan to invest approximately $520 million to develop gathering and compression assets and $120 million for water assets over the next six years.
Each partner will fund its proportionate share of the total capital investments. Initial construction of the system is expected to begin immediately and first deliveries are planned for the middle of 2016.
Gulfport will own 25 percent of the joint venture. Rice will own the remaining 75 percent.
The joint venture will be supported by long-term, fee-based service agreements with Gulfport.
Rice will be responsible for constructing and operating the joint venture’s assets. That includes 165 miles of natural gas pipelines, 50,000 horsepower of compression to deliver natural gas to nearby interstate pipelines and a water system to provide water for hydraulic fracturing or fracking.
Gulfport will dedicate about 77,000 acres to the joint venture. That includes recent acquisitions from Paloma Partners III LLCF and American Energy-Utica LLC.
In addition, Gulfport will also contribute to the venture an existing 11-mile gas-gathering pipeline and am existing connection to an interstate pipeline, which are both located in Monroe County.
Gulfport shall have the right to participate on a proportionate basis or “tag-along” in any direct or indirect sale transactions by Rice, which includes potential drop-down transactions with Rice Midstream Partners LP.
Said Michael G. Moore, Gulfport’s chief executive officer and president, “Gulfport has a strong history with Rice in the Utica Shale and we are excited to expand our relationship by creating further alignment with one of our midstream providers. In addition, the JV will enable Gulfport to leverage Rice’s expertise as a midstream services provider and participate in the midstream value chain through accretive opportunities with clearly defined tag-along rights that will allow Gulfport to take part in the potential drop-down strategies for the joint venture and its investments.”

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BlueGreen Alliance opposes H.R. 702 in letter to Congress

By Bob Downing Published: October 8, 2015

From a press release today:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ahead of a likely floor vote in the House, I wanted to pass along the BlueGreen Alliance's letter to Members of Congress oppposing the lifting of the long-standing ban on crude oil exports in the U.S. 

 

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Gulfport, Rice form midstream joint venture in eastern Ohio

By Bob Downing Published: October 8, 2015

From a press release today:

OKLAHOMA CITY, Oct. 08, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Gulfport Energy Corporation (NASDAQ:GPOR) (“Gulfport” or the “Company”) today announced that it has executed a Letter of Intent (the “Agreement”) with Rice Midstream Holdings, LLC (“Rice”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Rice Energy Inc. (NYSE:RICE), to form a midstream joint venture (“JV”) to develop natural gas gathering and water services assets to support Gulfport’s dry gas Utica Shale development in eastern Belmont County and Monroe County, Ohio. The JV will be supported by long-term, fee-based service agreements with Gulfport.

Gulfport will own 25% of the JV and Rice will own the remaining 75% of the JV. Rice will be responsible for constructing and operating the JV’s assets:

Under the terms of the Agreement, Gulfport will dedicate approximately 77,000 leasehold acres, including the acreage recently acquired in its Paloma Partners III, LLC and American Energy – Utica, LLC transactions. In addition, Gulfport will also contribute to the JV an existing 11-mile gas gathering pipeline and a 350 MDth/d TETCO interconnect, which are both located in Monroe County.

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API seeking White House support for lifting crude export ban

By Bob Downing Published: October 8, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute on Wednesday:

WASHINGTON, October 7, 2015 – API expressed disappointment in the administration’s failure to support legislation, scheduled for a House vote Friday, which would lift 1970s-era restrictions on crude exports, boosting the U.S. economy and global energy security.
     
“Even experts within the administration recognize that free trade in oil could benefit American consumers and create U.S. jobs,” said API Executive Vice President Louis Finkel, citing reports by the U.S. Energy Information Administration and other agencies. “Given the benefits for U.S. families and workers, it’s hard to imagine why the administration would reject bipartisan efforts to unlock America’s potential as an energy superpower even as it pushes for a deal to lift the oil embargo on Iran.
   
“When it comes to energy policy, America is faced with a lack of leadership. In its statement, the administration chose to put politics ahead of American consumers and American jobs. The result is that U.S. producers must sit by and watch as the White House gives Iranian oil producers access to world markets, while Canadian producers are kept away from the U.S. market while they wait for approval of the Keystone pipeline. The White House’s own 2015 National Security Strategy confirms the importance of America’s energy renaissance to the security of our allies.
     
“This is a missed opportunity to demonstrate true leadership while creating U.S. jobs and saving consumers’ money. This administration needs to reexamine their priorities and work with a bipartisan coalition in Congress on legislation that would help to secure America’s energy leadership for generations to come.
 
“There’s no question that outdated laws are standing in the way of U.S. growth. The Commerce Department has failed to approve significant exports, and self-imposed sanctions remain in place. Lawmakers are simply updating the law to reflect that 1970s-era restrictions don’t make economic sense in an era of U.S. energy abundance. Both the House and Senate proposals preserve the administration’s authority to limit exports should it ever be necessary.”
     
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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New study says shale wells associated with premature births

By Bob Downing Published: October 8, 2015

From a press release today:

STUDY: FRACKING INDUSTRY WELLS ASSOCIATED WITH PREMATURE BIRTH

--New research suggests increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes closer to active unconventional natural gas wells

 

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NWF sues Department of Transportation for pipeline failures

By Bob Downing Published: October 8, 2015

From a press release today:

National Wildlife Federation Sues Dept. of Transportation over Oil Pipeline Oversight Failures

 

Lawsuit carries ramifications for people, communities, wildlife, waters, from Great Lakes to the Yellowstone River.

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NAM supports H.R. 702 on crude exports in letter to Congress

By Bob Downing Published: October 8, 2015

From the National Association of Manufacturers today:

Good Morning,

 

Today the National Association of Manufacturers sent the following Key Vote Letter in support of H.R. 702, a bill to adapt to changing crude oil market conditions to members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

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IPAA seeks White House support of crude oil exports

By Bob Downing Published: October 8, 2015

A press release from Wednesday:

IPAA: White House Should Support American Crude Oil Exports

 

WASHINGTON, D.C.– Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) President Barry Russell called on President Barack Obama to reconsider his position, as outlined by a White House policy announcement today, and direct the U.S. Department of Commerce to lift the trade restrictions on American crude oil exports. Repealing the 40-year-old ban would stimulate our economy, strengthen America’s geopolitical standing around the world, and provide meaningful benefits to American families and our national energy security.

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FirstEnergy working on $63 million West Virginia substation

By Bob Downing Published: October 8, 2015

From a Tuesday press release by FirstEnergy Corp.:

FAIRMONT, W.Va., Oct. 6, 2015 -- Final design and preliminary site work is underway for a new FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) substation near Smithfield, W.Va., to help meet increased electrical usage in the area's rapidly expanding Marcellus Shale gas industry.  The project also is expected to enhance service reliability for more than 6,000 Mon Power customers in Wetzel, Marion and Tyler counties.

The project is budgeted at approximately $63 million.  The work includes building a new, two-mile transmission line to connect the new substation with a midstream natural gas processing facility expanding its operations and using more electricity.  The new line will parallel an existing transmission line. 

"FirstEnergy's infrastructure enhancements continue to help support the increased Marcellus gas activity in West Virginia," said Holly Kauffman, FirstEnergy's president of West Virginia Operations.  "The energy-intensive natural gas industry continues to be a positive driver of the state's economy, and FirstEnergy and Mon Power are committed to upgrading our transmission system to meet the sector's growing demand for safe and reliable electric service."

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Stark State College holding Oct. 20 drilling open house

By Bob Downing Published: October 8, 2015

Ohio's Stark State College will hold an open house for students and prospective students to learn about drilling industry jobs.

The event will run from 4 to 6 p.m. Oct. 20 at the college's Well Site Training Center, 234 Cherry Ave. SE, in downtown Canton. 

Prospective students and their families can learn about the plentiful education and career opportunities in the oil and gas industry, network and talk with industry leaders, tour the Well Site Training Center and see simulated industry equipment at work.

Admissions and scholarship information and representatives will be available and refreshments will be served.

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Reports: Boost in natural gas use, cuts in methane emissions

By Bob Downing Published: October 7, 2015

From America's Natural Gas Alliance today:

Separate Federal Reports Continue to Show Progress in Natural Gas Use and Emissions Cuts



Background: Following is a statement by America’s Natural Gas Alliance President and Chief Executive Officer Marty Durbin on reports showing greater natural gas use in power generation and reduced methane emissions in the production sector.

“In July, for the second time in history and second time this year, natural gas was the largest single fuel source used in power generation in a given month. As we know from past experience, greater use of natural gas in power generation is a major driver for reducing carbon emissions – and other pollutants – from this sector. This news from EIA follows a separate report by EPA that the oil and gas industry reduced methane emissions in 2014 by 13 percent just since 2011. This reinforces the trend where our methane emissions drop even while production goes up. These are promising signs as our nation works toward a cleaner environment and a stronger economy.”

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CORN to take Nexus Pipeline fight to Ohio Legislature

By Bob Downing Published: October 7, 2015

From a press release today from CORN:

Judge Allows Surveys in Medina County

Medina, OH. October 7, 2015 – The recent ruling in the Medina County Court granting permission to NEXUS pipeline surveyors to enter a landowner’s property without the owner’s permission is a mistake and needs to be corrected in the state legislature, according to Paul Gierosky, co-founder of the Coalition to Reroute Nexus (CORN).
“The ruling in Medina means that we will propose legislation to our state officials to correct this abuse,” Gierosky told the members of CORN. The organization is seeking to move the route presented by NEXUS to a more southerly alternative that would significantly reduce conflicts with homes, schools and businesses.
With this ruling, Medina Court Judge Christopher Collier exposed a fundamental flaw in an Ohio statute whose original intent was to facilitate the acquisition of routes by local utilities to service their local customers.
“The Ohio law is now being exploited by NEXUS to build a 36" diameter pipeline 250 miles through eleven Ohio counties to export 1.5 bcf of natural gas per day to Canada, stated Gierosky. NEXUS' effort is aided by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that administers a process that allows the company to choose the shortest route and outdated safety setback standards which facilitate the pipeline to be built within one foot of a home,” he said.
While Collier agreed that the Court is sympathetic to the Defendants’ arguments in this matter, he wrote that the Court cannot alter or re-write the statutory provisions at issue in the matter, as that is a matter to be addressed with the Ohio Legislature.
"The result is property owners are being forced by elected officials to surrender our rights,” said Gierosky. “These surveys of our property could result in its ultimate acquisition through eminent domain by a foreign company whose intent is to construct a pipeline to export natural gas to Canada, from which we, our neighbors, and our community will receive no benefit. I cannot believe our legislators in 1953 when these statutes were enacted could have imagined this perverse result," he said.
"The conclusion I reach is that, any private property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party. Does that mean the government now has license to transfer property from those with fewer resources to those with more, he asked. Who is responsible for such disproportionate influence and power in the political process? In this case the developers of the NEXUS Project are multibillion dollar energy companies that include Spectra Energy, DTE and Enbridge Energy of Canada. Property owners are the unwilling victims."
Gierosky stated, "Although we are disappointed with Judge Collier's ruling, we will not give in. We are preparing to go on the offense to protect our rights."
His personal message to NEXUS representatives is: "We shall fight in federal courts, we shall fight before FERC, we shall fight in our backyards and in our farm fields, we shall fight for what is just and rightfully ours, we shall never rest until NEXUS moves this pipeline out of the counties of northeastern Ohio that are densely populated and already adequately served by natural gas."
The Coalition to Reroute Nexus (CORN) is a grassroots organization that germinated in Medina Ohio. CORN has submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission an alternate route affecting 40 percent fewer businesses, 50 percent fewer churches, 70 percent fewer homes and 100 percent fewer schools. This alternate route would also impact 58 percent fewer acres of environmentally sensitive wetlands.

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Electricity generation from natural gas on the increase

By Bob Downing Published: October 7, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

The monthly natural gas share of total U.S. electricity generation surpassed the coal share in July for the second time ever, with natural gas fueling 35.0% of total generation to coal's 34.9% share. Compared to the previous July, coal-fired generation fell in every region of the country, while natural gas-fired generation rose in every region.

Read More ›

Tags: coal , electricity , generation , natural gas

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CONSOL continues shift away from coal to natural gas

By Bob Downing Published: October 7, 2015

From a Tuesday press release:

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 6, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- CONSOL Energy Inc. (NYSE: CNX) announced today the closing of two separate asset sale transactions. 

CONSOL Energy sold its 49% interest in the Western Allegheny Energy (WAE) joint venture to Rosebud Mining Company. The WAE transaction included the conveyance of 63 million tons of coal reserves. This transaction closed on September 30, 2015.

Separately, CONSOL Energy sold 6.7 million tons of lignite reserves located in South Texas to a private entity. This transaction closed on October 6, 2015.

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USGS offers oil, natural gas estimates from San Joaquin Basin

By Bob Downing Published: October 7, 2015

From the U.S. Geological Survey today:

USGS Estimates 21 Million Barrels of Oil and 27 Billion Cubic Feet of Gas in the Monterey Formation of the San Joaquin Basin, California

Posted: 06 Oct 2015 09:00 AM PDT

The Monterey Formation in the deepest parts of California’s San Joaquin Basin contains an estimated mean volumes of 21 million barrels of oil, 27 billion cubic feet of gas, and 1 million barrels of natural gas liquids, according to the first USGS assessment of continuous (unconventional), technically recoverable resources in the Monterey Formation.

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Gulfport Energy to pay $8 million for Belmont Co. road repairs

By Bob Downing Published: October 7, 2015

Gulfport Energy, one of the biggest drillers in Ohio's Utcia Shale, is providing $8 million to fix roads in Belmont County.

The work will be done on 18 miles of roads in Mead and York townships.

Click  here  to read more from WTOV-TV (Channel 9) in Steubenville.

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Yergin: New shale era with benefits for petrochemicals

By Bob Downing Published: October 7, 2015

From an IHS press release on Tuesday:

IHS Vice Chairman and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Quest and The Prize, Daniel Yergin’s key take-aways from his keynote address at the European Petrochemical Association's (EPCA) 49th annual meeting in Berlin, 5 October 2015. Please feel free to quote from the report below. For further comment, please contact press@ihs.com

-0-

October 6, 2015

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Group calls on Congress, FERC to refund pipeline overcharges

By Bob Downing Published: October 7, 2015

From a press release on Tuesday:

IECA CALLS ON CONGRESS TO REQUIRE INTERSTATE NATURAL GAS PIPELINES TO REFUND OVERCHARGES TO CUSTOMERS       

The Industrial Energy Consumers of America (IECA) and a large group of companies and organizations urge Congress to support legislation that would give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) the tools it needs to provide consumers with refunds when interstate natural gas pipeline companies overcharge consumers by amending Section 5 of the Natural Gas Act.

“Refunding overcharges to customers is a fundamental right that is being denied because FERC does not have refund authority,” said Paul N. Cicio, president of the Industrial Energy Consumers of America. 

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Basil Seggos named by Cuomo to head New York's DEC

By Bob Downing Published: October 7, 2015

From the Associated Press last week:

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Gov Andrew Cuomo has named his top environmental adviser as the new commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Conservation, a post that has been vacant since July.

Basil Seggos has been Cuomo's deputy secretary for the environment since 2013. His appointment, announced Friday, is subject to approval by the state Senate.

Seggos is also a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve and serves at a JAG unit in Schenectady. He has previously worked for Hugo Neu Corporation, a private equity company focusing on recycling and sustainable industry, and for the environmental advocacy groups Riverkeeper and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

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Medina County judge backs Nexus Pipeline on survey access

By Bob Downing Published: October 6, 2015

A Medina County judge today gave Nexus Gas Transmission LLC permission to survey on private property for its $2 billion natural gas pipeline across northern Ohio.
The decision was released by Judge Christopher Collier in a lawsuit filed last July by the Texas-based company againjst 113 Medina County landowners.
Ohio law gives the company the authority to survey for a pipeline, even if landowners do not approve such access, Collier said.
“While the court is sympathetic to the defendants’ arguments in this matter, the court is constyrained by the plain language of the statutes at issue in this matter,” Collier wrote in his 11-page decision.
“The court cannot alter or re-write the statutory provisions at issue in the matter simply because they are not popular, as that is a matter to be addressed witht he Ohio Legislature,” he added
The Nexus Pipeline must be approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
The 250-mile pipeline would carry natural gas from Ohio’s Utica Shale west to Defiance and north to Detroit and Ontario where it would connect with existing pipelines.
It 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.
The city of Green and a grass-roots group, Coalition to Reroute Nexus (CORN), have urged that the pipeline be rerouted to the south away from developed areas in Stark, Summit and Medina counties. That would affect about 103 miles of pipeline. That proosal has not been endorsed by the pipeline company.
Nexus has won temporary restraining orders allowing property access in 11 of 13 counties, including Wayne and Stark.
It has not been granted survey access in Summit and Erie counties.
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.

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Wheeling area has 5th-fastest growing economy in U.S.

By Bob Downing Published: October 6, 2015

Shale drilling is having big impacts on the economy in Wheeling, W. Va.
It produced the fifth-fastest growing economy in the United States in and around Wheeling, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The three-county Wheeling area saw its gross domestic product (GDP) grow by 9.5 percent from 2013 to 2014, the agency’s Bureau of Economic Analysis said.
Wheeling’s GDP has jumped by 17.3 percent from 2009 through 2014, the agency said in a recently released report.
Gross domestic product is defined as the monetary value of all the finished goods and services provided over a specific time period.
That’s mostly due to drilling in the Marcellus and Utica shales in the Wheeling area that covers Belmont County in Ohio and Marshall and Ohio counties in West Virginia, the agency said.
That includes landowner leases and royalty payments, new pipelines and wells, gas-collecting pipelines, new well service and engineering companies, filled hotels lodging workers, busy restaurants, new drilling-related companies and new retail outlets, said Belmont County Commissioner Mark Thomas.
He said he was surprised by the No. 5 ranking, not by the economic boom. He said that boom is expected to continue and perhaps peak in 2017, he said.
“We’re still in our infancy,” he said of the shale boom. “The fact that we’re No. 5 already is a little unexpected.…But the economic impacts we’re seeing are big.”
In Belmont County alone, there are five new hotels along Interstate 70 with two more under construction and another three planned for 2017, plus new commercial development, increased vehicle and house sales, all tied to shale money, Thomas said.
Many companies including well service companies and engineering firms have opened offices in the three counties, he said.
Unemployment in Belmont County has dropped to 5.5 percent, he said.
That boom could continue because PTT Global Chemical, a Thai company, is looking at building a $5.7 billion ethane cracker plant near Shadyside. Its American subsidiary said it will invest $100 million to develop plans for the plant. No decision has been made on whether the plant will be built on the site of an old FirstEnergy Corp. power plant. It would turn the ethane from the Utica Shale into polyethylene or plastics.
That plant, Thomas said, would be “a real game changer.” It would be the biggest investment ever in Ohio for a single project, he said.
It could produce 8,000 to 10,000 construction jobs and the plant, if built, could attract chemical companies and other facilities and create even more jobs, he said.
Canton, at the northern edge of Ohio’s Utica Shale, also appears to have benefitted from shale drilling. It was ranked 45th in the country in GDP growth from 2013 to 2014.
Nationally, 282 of the 381 urban areas in the United States showed increases in the GDP from 2013 to 2014. Akron was ranked 118 for its growth. Cincinnati was ranked 102, Columbus was 143, Cleveland was 188, Youngstown was 214 and Steubenville-Weirton was 229.
Nationally, the only urban areas that were better than Wheeling were Midland, Texas; San Angelo, Texas; Lake Charles, La.; and Greeley, Colo., and all four are involved in shale drilling or processing.
Midland, San Angelo and Greeley all benefit from being near shale drilling areas. Lake Charles is involved in gas and oil processing and transportation. Midland had a 24.1 percent hike in GDP, while San Angelo had a 11.4 percent boost, the federal bureau said.
Other drilling cities on the federal list included Fargo, N.D. (41) and Fort Collins, Colo.  (18).

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Household heating costs likely lower than last two winters

By Bob Downing Published: October 6, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

Most U.S. households can expect lower heating expenditures this winter (October through March) compared with the past two winters. In most regions, the decline in expenditures is attributed to the combination of warmer weather and lower fuel prices.

Read More ›

Tags: consumption , electricity , forecast , heating oil , natural gas , prices , propane , STEO (Short-Term Energy Outlook) , weather

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Ohio has 1,606 drilled Utica wells, 1,018 producing Utica wells

By Bob Downing Published: October 6, 2015

Ohio has approved 2,028 Utica Shale drilling permits, as of Oct. 3.

That totals includes 1,606 drilled Utica Shale wells and 1,018 producing Utica Shale wells, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said.

It said 21 drilling rigs are at work in Ohio.

Seven companies have 18 new drilling permits: five in Belmont County, four in Carroll County, three in Guernsey County and six in Monroe County.

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New reports supports Ohio injection program, EID says

By Bob Downing Published: October 6, 2015

From Energy in Depth-Ohio on Monday:

 

by Jackie Stewart
jackie@energyindepth.org, Canfield, Ohio

A recently released report by StatesFirst, an initiative of the Ground Water Protection Council and Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, highlights how Ohio regulators have successfully implemented Ohio’s Class II injection well program.

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Greenhouse gas emissions higher for coal than LNG exports

By Bob Downing Published: October 6, 2015

From the Center for Liquified Natural Gas on Monday::

LNG exports produce lower GHG emissions than coal,

according to report commissioned by the Center for LNG

 

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Cutting cuts is wave of future for driller, Lux Reserach says

By Bob Downing Published: October 6, 2015

From Lux Research today:

Operators Turn to Robotic Drilling, Other Innovations to Battle Low Oil Price

A new generation of start-ups is offering ways to cut drilling costs and non-productive time as oil operators adapt to low oil prices, says Lux Research

 

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University of Findlay to study train derailments of liquids

By Bob Downing Published: October 6, 2015

From the Associated Press on Sunday

FINDLAY, Ohio (AP) — A training center at the University of Findlay has received a $610,000 federal grant to train emergency responders on how to deal with train derailments involving hazardous materials.
The Courier in Findlay reports (http://bit.ly/1LpM1hp ) the one-year grant from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration will be used by the university’s all-hazards training center to conduct up to 70 one-day training events within a 500-mile radius of Findlay.
Participants will learn how to respond to incidents involving rail shipments of crude oil, ethanol and other flammable liquids.
The center’s executive director, Randy Van Dyne says it was selected to receive the award because of its long history of delivering hands-on training to responders across the country.
Last year, the center taught more than 11,000 people in more than 40 states.
———
Information from: The Courier, http://www.thecourier.com

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From Ohio University student: How fracking saved my family

By Bob Downing Published: October 5, 2015

From Energy in Depth-Ohio today:

Ohio University Student: How Fracking Saved My Family

10:10am EDT October 5, 2015

by Madison Roscoe
Guest Blogger

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Hickory Bend plant, pipelines getting a new investor

By Bob Downing Published: October 5, 2015

Gas-gathering pipelines and a natural gas processing plant in eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania are getting new financial backing.
Three Rivers Midstream, an affiliate of Williams Partners LP, has become a new member and investor in Pennant Midstream LLC.
Pennant owns the Hickory Bend processing plant in New Middletown, Ohio, and related gathering systems in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
It has invested about $400 million in that plant on the Ohio-Pennsylvania border, 41 miles of pipelines, connections to major natural gas pipelines and a pipeline to the Utica East Ohio’s Kensington gas processing plant in Columbiana County.
Already involved in Pennant Midstream are affiliates of the Columbia Midstream Group LLC and the Hilcorp Energy Co.'s Harvest Pipeline Co..
Three Rivers Midstream has purchased a 5 percent interest in the Pennant Midstream and that can grow to 33 percent with future investments.
Williams Partners is being acquired by Energy Transfer Equity.
The new agreement nearly triples the acreage dedicated to Pennant to about 500,000 acres and results in the addition of investment-grade producers, positioning Pennant to be a leading long-term midstream services provider in the Mahoning Valley, the parties said.
“Three Rivers is a logical partner for Pennant,” said Brett Stovern, Pennant president, in a statement. “The company’s extensive commercial and operations knowledge in the Appalachian Basin will further increase our leadership position over our Utica footprint. With strong processing, gathering and transport infrastructure in place and the ability to significantly expand and leverage our asset position, we look forward to supporting further shale production in the Mahoning Valley.”
Said Jim Scheel, a senior vice president of Williams Partners, “The Hickory Bend system demonstrates many characteristics of infrastructure we want in our portfolio — new, large-scale, easily expandable and, importantly, highly efficient when it comes to (natural gas liquids) recovery and fuel consumption. Additionally, by leveraging Pennant’s existing gathering and processing facilities, we’re able to serve customers in this area in a timelier manner than if we built our own facilities.”

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Drilling company takes action against Akron critics

By Bob Downing Published: October 5, 2015

My co-worker Stephanie Warsmith in today's Beacon Journal has a story about action taken by a drilling company developing vertical-only wells in Akron against two very vocal critics of drilling.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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Pennant Midstream JV in Ohio, Pa. gets new member

By Bob Downing Published: October 5, 2015

From a press release today:

HOUSTON, Oct. 5, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Columbia Pipeline Group, Inc. (NYSE: CPGX) ("CPG") and Columbia Pipeline Partners LP (NYSE: CPPL) (together, "Columbia"), today announced that Three Rivers Midstream LLC, an affiliate of Williams Partners L.P. (NYSE: WPZ) ("Williams Partners"), has become a member of Pennant Midstream, LLC ("Pennant"), a joint venture between affiliates of Columbia Midstream Group, LLC (an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of CPG), and Harvest Pipeline Company.

"We are pleased to add Three Rivers Midstream as a high-quality partner to this joint venture," said Columbia Pipeline Group President Glen Kettering, noting that the combination is expected to significantly increase Pennant's long-term infrastructure investment opportunities. "Pennant leverages our extensive asset base and operating experience in the Utica Shale region to create near-term value, as well as long-term sustainable growth for our customers and shareholders."

The executed agreement nearly triples the acreage dedicated to Pennant to approximately 500,000 acres and results in the addition of investment-grade producers, positioning Pennant to be a leading long-term midstream services provider in the Mahoning Valley. 

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GreenHunter Resources reports record injection volume

By Bob Downing Published: October 5, 2015

From a press release today:

GRAPEVINE, Texas, Oct. 05, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- GreenHunter Resources, Inc. (NYSE MKT:GRH) (NYSE MKT:GRH.PRC), a diversified water resource, waste management, environmental services, and hydrocarbon marketing company specializing in the unconventional oil and natural gas shale resource plays within the Appalachian Basin, reported today record SWD injection volumes company-wide of approximately 15,000 barrels per day over the last week.

The majority of this growth in the new oilfield brine water injection volumes is directly attributable to the expansion efforts completed at the company’s Mills Hunter Facility located in Meigs County, Ohio.  GreenHunter Water is currently operating 11 SWD injection wells and has 3 more new SWD wells currently waiting on state regulatory approval.  These new SWD wells should be turned on to commercial operations prior to year-end.

Commenting on these record volumes, Kirk Trosclair, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer stated, “The downturn currently being experienced today in the oilfield due to the significant drop in commodity prices has affected all services companies, including ourselves.  With record low drilling rig counts, flow back water within our operating region is virtually nonexistent.  Therefore, our personnel have had to work very hard in order to obtain new SWD volumes from producing wells that are available for disposal in our area of operations.  The quality of these new customers is extremely good in that they are typically large well capitalized E&P companies active in the Appalachian region.” 

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N.H. court upholds $236 million judgment against Exxon Mobil

By Bob Downing Published: October 5, 2015

From the Associated Press on Friday:

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire’s highest court upheld a record $236 million judgment Friday against Exxon Mobil for its use of a gasoline additive that contaminated groundwater in the state.

A jury reached the verdict in April 2013 after finding the company liable in a long-running lawsuit over contamination by the chemical MTBE. Lasting nearly four months, the trial was the longest and resulted in the largest jury award in New Hampshire history.

Lawyers for Exxon Mobil asked the court for a new trial. They said the company used MTBE to meet federal Clean Air Act mandates to reduce air pollution and shouldn’t be held liable for sites contaminated by unnamed parties, such as owners of junk yards and independent gas stations.

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University of Akron to study pipeline corrosion with grant

By Bob Downing Published: October 5, 2015

From a Friday press release:

BROWN ANNOUNCES MORE THAN $238,000 FOR PIPELINE SAFETY RESEARCH AT THE UNIVERSITY OF AKRON

 

Funding Will Study How to Prevent or Mitigate Pipeline Corrosion

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Federal judge grants survey access for Atlantic Coast Pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: October 5, 2015

A federal judge in Virginia last week ruled that Dominion Resources can survey on private property in Nelson and Augusta counties for a proposed pipeline route, according to the Nelson Counjty Times.

The judge Virginia law allows access for such pipeline surveys.

The ruling will enable Dominon Resources to survey for its Atlantic Coast Pipeline that would carry natural gas from the Utica and Marcellus shales to Virginia and North Carolina.

The 550-mile pipeline would cost about $5 billion.

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Stone Energy has cut work force by 25 percent since late 2014

By Bob Downing Published: October 5, 2015

Louisiana-based Stone Energy Corp. has cut its work force by 25 percent since late 2014, as it deals with low commodity prices.

The firm has about 300 staffers, down from 400 in late 2014, officials said. That includes retirements and departures. Officials declined to say say how many have been laidoff.

It has operations in West Virginia and elsewhere.

Click  here  for more information.

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Shell to spend $80 million on Beaver County cracker site

By Bob Downing Published: October 5, 2015

Shell Chemical Co. intends to spend $80 million over the next two years to deal with contaminated soils at its proposed ethane cracker plant site at Monaca in Beaver Co., the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently reported.

The company has Pennsylvania approval to essentially raise the ground level by 6 feet on the 300-acre site and cap the contaminated soils.

The site formerly housed the largest zinc smelter in the United States.

Shell Chemical inherited the cleanup liability when it purchased the property.

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Open season begins for Bayou Bridge crude oil pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: October 5, 2015

Three companies have opened sign ups for a new crude oil pipeline that would connect oil terminals in Nederland, Texas, to refining facilities in Lake Charles, La.

The Bayou Bridge Pipeline is being developed by subsidiaries of Phillips 66, Energy Transfer Partners LP and Sunoco Logistics Partners LP.

The line would connect to drilling areas in the Permian Basin, the Eagle Ford Shale, East Texas, the Texas Panhandle and soutrhern Oklahoma.

The line will later be extended to St. James, La.

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Medina County ruling on Nexus Pipeline delayed to Monday

By Bob Downing Published: October 2, 2015

Medina County Common Pleas Judge Christopher Collier is expected to release his findings in a lawsuit over surveying access for the proposed Nexus Pipeline on Monday.

The decision is not yet complete and the judge was still working on it, a spokeswoman said on Friday.

Collier had said earlier that he hoped to complete his decision for a Friday  release.

Texas-based Nexus Gas Transmission LLC is seeking Collier’s approval to go on private property to survey for its $2 billion pipeline that would cross northern Ohio, despite opposition from landowners.

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U.S. well count dips by 29 to 809, Baker Hughes reports

By Bob Downing Published: October 2, 2015

The U.S. rig count took another dip today.

Well service company Baker Hughes reported that 809 wells are at work in the United States. That total is a drop of 29 from a week earlier and a decline of 1,113 from a year ago.

Those 809 wells include 614 oil wells and 195 natural gas wells in the U.S. only, Baker Hughes said.

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Activist investor taking on Magnum Hunter Resources

By Bob Downing Published: October 2, 2015

A Texas energy consultant wants to lead a takeover of oil and gas company Magnum Hunter Resources Corp., Columbus Business First reported.

Dallas Salazar, CEO of Austin-­based Atlas Consulting, said he has gathered enough support from shareholders for a takeover attempt, though he hopes the Texas company's management will work with him on suggested changes.

The shale drilling company with a sizable acreage base in eastern Ohio’s Utica shale has attractive assets, he said, but is over-leveraged.

Click   here  to read the full story.

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Columbia Pipeline begins service on East Side Expansion

By Bob Downing Published: October 2, 2015

From a Thursday press release:

HOUSTON, Oct. 2, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Columbia Pipeline Group, Inc. and Columbia Pipeline Partners LP (together, "Columbia") today announced that their subsidiary, Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC, has placed the East Side Expansion Project ("ESE") in service.

"East Side is an important piece of our project backlog which is designed to meet the needs of both producers and end-use markets over the next several years," said CPG President Glen Kettering. "Placing it in service today is a testament to our team's focus on executing CPG's exciting growth plan on time and on budget."

The ESE Project creates additional capacity of 312 million cubic feet per day on the Columbia system. It involves the installation of two natural gas pipelines, with approximately nine miles of pipeline in Chester County, Pennsylvania, and nine miles of pipeline in Gloucester County, New Jersey. The project also includes modifications and upgrades to certain compressor station facilities, including the installation of two new 4,700 horsepower compressor units at Columbia's Milford Compressor Station in Pike County, Pennsylvania, and two new 10,000 horsepower units at the company's Easton Compressor Station in Northampton County, Pennsylvania.

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PDC Energy re-affirms borrowing base of $700 million

By Bob Downing Published: October 2, 2015

From a Thursday press release:

DENVER, October 1, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- PDC Energy, Inc. ("PDC" or the "Company") (Nasdaq:PDCE) today announced that it has extended the maturity of its revolving credit facility by two years to May 2020. The borrowing base has been re-affirmed at $700 million of which the Company has elected to keep its commitment level at $450 million.

Chief Financial Officer Gysle Shellum stated, "We are very pleased with the support of our bank group and its agreement, given the current market conditions, to not only re-affirm our current borrowing base, but extend the maturity of the revolving credit facility by two years. This liquidity and flexibility provides us the ability to continue operating with a clear focus on maintaining favorable debt metrics and executing on our strategic vision of delivering shareholder value through continued production and cash flow growth, and strong returns."

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Ohio's oil, natural gas industry important, despite downturn

By Bob Downing Published: October 2, 2015

Posted with permission from the OOGEEP:

There is no question, it’s tough times for Ohio’s oil and gas industry. Prices for crude oil and natural gas are at their lowest levels in decades. The downturn in prices and drilling activity has caused many people to ask the questions: Is Ohio’s oil and gas industry still a major contributor to our local economy? How important in this industry to the average Ohioan? The answers are unequivocally yes and in fact more important now than ever.

As energy, economics and jobs dominate the headlines, a homegrown industry continues to supply these benefits to the Buckeye State. Ohio has a long and proud oil and gas history. In fact, Ohio’s oil and gas industry has been producing crude oil and natural gas from various geological formations beneath our feet for more than 150 years.

The past several years has also brought many new companies, jobs and innovations to Ohio’s industry, leading to unprecedented and record energy production levels. As a result, Ohioans are intertwined with the state’s oil and gas industry more than ever before.

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Industry shares agency's pipeline safety goal of no incidents

By Bob Downing Published: October 2, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute on Thursday:

Industry shares PHMSA’s pipeline safety goal of zero incidents

WASHINGTON, October 1, 2015 – API Midstream Group Director Robin Rorick said industry shares the goal of zero incidents that is intended by the new hazardous liquids pipeline proposed rule by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

“Safety is our top priority," said Rorick. "We are always looking for new ways to enhance an already safe industry. We need a practical pipeline safety rule for hazardous liquids that will complement industry’s strong safety standards. We look forward to working with PHMSA when it comes to protecting the public."

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EV Energy Partners completes four acquisitions in four plays

By Bob Downing Published: October 2, 2015

From a Thursday press release:

HOUSTON, Oct. 1, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- EV Energy Partners, L.P. (NASDAQ: EVEP) today announced it has closed four previously announced acquisitions purchased from certain institutional partnerships managed by EnerVest, Ltd. The acquisitions represent combined estimated net proved reserves of 302 Bcfe in the Appalachian Basin, San Juan Basin, Michigan and Austin Chalk for a combined adjusted purchase price of $259.4 million, subject to customary post-closing adjustments.  The acquisitions were funded primarily with borrowings under the Partnership's credit facility.

"We are pleased to close on these acquisitions and expand our footprint in areas where we have existing operations.  Post-closing, EVEP has a strong balance sheet with over $300 million of available liquidity in borrowing base capacity and cash.  In addition, these acquisitions will provide incremental capacity to our borrowing base when we finalize our semi-annual redetermination later this month," stated Michael Mercer, President and Chief Executive Officer.

About EV Energy Partners, L.P.

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Small earthquake reported in Harrison County

By Bob Downing Published: October 2, 2015

A small earthquake was reported late Tuesday in Harrison County in eastern Ohio, the Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register reported.

The quake measured 2.1. No injurries were reported.

The quake about 11:30 p.m. was centered in Moorefield Township about 10.5 miles southwest of Cadiz.

It was unclear if the quake was linked to hydraulic fracturing or fracking or a nearby injection well.

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EnLink completes acquisition of assets in West Texas

By Bob Downing Published: October 2, 2015

From a Thursday press release:

DALLAS, October 1, 2015 – The EnLink Midstream companies, EnLink Midstream Partners, LP (NYSE:ENLK) (the Partnership) and EnLink Midstream, LLC (NYSE:ENLC) (the General Partner) (together with its subsidiaries “EnLink”), today announced that a subsidiary of the Partnership completed its previously announced acquisition of gathering and processing assets in the Delaware Basin (the “Delaware Basin System”) from a subsidiary of Matador Resources Company (NYSE:MTDR) (“Matador”).

“We are pleased to complete this acquisition which complements our existing natural gas and crude oil gathering, transportation and marketing services in the Delaware Basin,” said Barry E. Davis, EnLink Midstream President and Chief Executive Officer. “This acquisition solidifies our commitment to grow in West Texas and brings our capital investment in the area to over $1.5 billion. We will execute on approximately $250-350 million of additional growth capital in the Delaware Basin over the next 18 months to expand our presence in this region, which is among the most favorable oil producing plays in the United States.”

About the EnLink Midstream Companies

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Ohio task force still studying severance tax options

By Bob Downing Published: October 2, 2015

From the Associated Press on Thursday:

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A group studying Ohio’s oil-and-gas severance tax will miss a state budget-imposed deadline for releasing its report even after the state Senate president initially called it a “hard deadline” and told reporters it was likely coming this week.
Ohio Senate spokesman John Fortney said Thursday that work continues on the report and the group is making progress. He didn’t know when a report would come, but cited a desire to “get this right.”
The tax increase has been a priority of Gov. John Kasich for years. Kasich says Ohio’s tax on oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids is too low, and proceeds of an increase could help cut income taxes.
In June, Senate President Keith Faber described Oct. 1 as a “hard deadline” for striking “meaningful compromise.”

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Ohio groups back 5 percent severance tax on production

By Bob Downing Published: October 2, 2015

From the Ohio Organizing Collaborative on Thursday:

Several Ohio organizations are calling for a 5 percent severance tax on oil and gas production to help pay soaring costs of the shale drilling boom to local communities and Ohio taxpayers.

Ohio’s effective tax rate on oil and gas is less than a half-percent, far behind most other oil and gas producing states. The current tax is inadequate to compensate for increased road maintenance, new demands for emergency services, escalating housing costs, greater need for regulatory oversight and negative effects on air and water quality.

New tax revenue also would provide long-term funds for local communities that face economic ramifications of boom and bust cycles typical of the industry, according to the recommendation by Policy Matters Ohio, Ohio Environmental Council, One Ohio Now, Ohio Organizing Collaborative, Ohio Communities United for Responsible Energy and the Ohio Public Health Association.

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IPAA hails Senate committee vote on LNG exports

By Bob Downing Published: October 2, 2015

From the Independent Petroleum Association of America on Thursday:

IPAA Praises Senate Committee Vote Favoring U.S. Crude Oil Exports

WASHINGTON, D.C.– Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Political Affairs Dan Naatz praised the bipartisan legislation designed to lift the outdated restrictions on exporting United States crude oil, which was approved today by the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. IPAA has made lifting the decades-old restrictions on crude oil exports a top priority, according to Naatz.

“With independent study after study showing the free trade of crude oil will mean more American jobs, lower fuel costs, and increased national energy security, IPAA commends the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs for passing this bipartisan legislation that lifts these outdated trade restrictions on U.S. crude oil,” said Naatz.

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New ozone rule helpful but insufficient for drilling areas

By Bob Downing Published: October 1, 2015

From Eathworks today:

EPA final ozone rule helpful but insufficient for fracking-impacted communities

Statement of Earthworks Policy Director Lauren Pagel

"EPA's new standard recognizes we need to reduce ground level ozone pollution to protect public health, but it doesn't go far enough. People across the country are already suffering from increased smog from fracking and oil and gas infrastructure. Many areas where the development is happening are already in violation of the current ozone standard. The science is clear that a lower standard protects public health, and fracking-impacted communities need all the help they can get."

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IPAA: New federal EPA ozone rule is all costs, no benefits

By Bob Downing Published: October 1, 2015

From the Independent Petroleum Association of America today:

U.S. Independent Producers: Federal Ozone Standard is All Costs, No Benefits

 

WASHINGTON, D.C.– Today, Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) Executive Vice President Lee Fuller released the following statement in response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tightening federal standards for ground-level ozone levels, which could impose hundreds of millions of dollars in additional costs on American businesses:

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New ozone plan hurts economy, threatens jobs. ANGA says

By Bob Downing Published: October 1, 2015

From America's Natural gas Alliance today:

ANGA: EPA Ozone Plan Hurts Economy, Threatens Jobs 

Background: Following is a statement by America’s Natural Gas Alliance’s Executive Vice President Frank J. Macchiarola on EPA’s ozone standard. 

“Today’s ozone rule comes at a time when we are experiencing a renaissance in the manufacturing sector, thanks in part to clean and affordable natural gas. The rule threatens the economic progress our nation is making in the manufacturing sector and will create a regulatory burden that will make compliance in some regions, near impossible. Additionally, it will add to the uncertainty facing oil and gas producers and could dampen investment by the industry in our domestic energy abundance. It is clearly a step in the wrong direction.”

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NAM: Federal ozone change will pain U.S. manufacturers

By Bob Downing Published: October 1, 2015

From the National Association of Manufacturers today:

New Ozone Rule Will Inflict Pain on Manufacturers

Finalized Regulation Still Feels Like a Punch in the Gut

Washington, D.C., October 1, 2015 – National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons and Neenah Enterprises, Inc. President and CEO and NAM Small and Medium Manufacturers Group Chair Tom Riordan issued the following statement on the Environmental Protection Agency’s new ozone regulation:

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Syracuse team analyzes water samples pre- and post-drilling

By Bob Downing Published: October 1, 2015

Shale gas production from the northern Appalachian Basin has raised concerns about potential impacts to groundwater quality, says the Penn State Extension.

Donald Seigel, a hydrogeology professor from Syracuse University, and  his colleagues recently published an article in Applied Geochemistry that summarizes groundwater quality from 21,044 pre-drilling groundwater  samples including 13,040 samples from northeastern Pennsylvania and 8,004 samples from southwest Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, and north-central West Virginia (referred to as the “Western Area”). 

This dataset is the most comprehensive water quality dataset published to date related to shale energy development. These groundwater samples were collected as part of Chesapeake Energy Corporation's pre-drilling water supply monitoring program for shale wells they were drilling primarily in the Utica-Point Pleasant and Marcellus formations.

Click  here  to read more.

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Warren Resources to relocate headquarters to Denver

By Bob Downing Published: October 1, 2015

From a press release on Wednesday:

NEW YORK, Sept. 30, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Warren Resources, Inc. (NASDAQ:WRES) today announced that the corporate headquarters will be relocated to its pre-existing Denver, Colorado office effective immediately. In addition, the Company will close its New York City and Roswell, New Mexico offices, with the transition and elimination of affected personnel and offices expected to begin in the fourth quarter and be completed by March 31, 2016. Warren expects this consolidation of offices will create both financial and organizational efficiencies by centralizing Company management and streamlining operations. The Company expects one-time costs associated with this consolidation of offices and personnel will be approximately $1.5 million, and that the Company will realize G&A savings in the range of $1.5 million per year as a result of this consolidation thereafter.

Additionally, interim Chairman Dominick D'Alleva will assume the title of permanent Chairman of the Board. Warren is also in the process of the search for a permanent CEO to replace interim CEO Lance Peterson.

In announcing the decision, Mr. D'Alleva commented, "New York has proudly served as the headquarters for Warren Resources since the Company's founding in 1990. In addition, with our recent Marcellus acquisition and establishment of our Denver office, a significant amount of the Company's business is now being conducted in the Denver office. We have an extremely talented team in Denver that not only operates the Marcellus Business Unit, but also has taken an active role in operating our Wyoming and California Business Units." Mr. D'Alleva continued, "Warren has taken impactful steps over the past nine months to create liquidity, right size capital budgets, become more efficient by reducing costs and also optimizing production in its business units. I commend our current leadership and all employees for their commitment to the current and future success of Warren Resources. The initiatives announced today will continue our goal to create a more efficient, focused Company." 

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DEP cites energy firm for chemical release in Potter County

By Bob Downing Published: October 1, 2015

From the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection on Wednesday:

 
The Notice of Violation includes:
• Failure to prevent pollution of fresh groundwater;
• Drilling through fresh groundwater with a substance other than air, freshwater or freshwater based drilling fluids; and
• Violations of Pennsylvania’s Clean Streams Law.

DEP has had representatives in the area almost daily since September 21, collecting samples, meeting with property owners affected by the release, and overseeing operations at the gas well. More than 60 individual water samples have been taken from residential water supplies through September 29, 2015. DEP is continuing to test and analyze residential and municipal water supplies for evidence of contamination.
 
DEP is also ensuring water supply replacement to affected residences, including the Cole Memorial Hospital, which was transitioned to municipal water sources as a precaution. The Department also participated in a September 25, 2015 meeting with the Potter County Commissioners, PEMA, Potter County EMA, Cole Memorial Hospital, Coudersport Borough, and JKLM Energy.
 
According to JKLM estimates, approximately 98 gallons of surfactant (F-485) was released to groundwater during top-hole drilling activities. This surfactant included isopropanol at 10-15% concentration, which is not approved for use when drilling through freshwater aquifers. The surfactant was reportedly diluted in 22,000 gallons of water and also included 35 gallons of rock oil, a paraffinic petroleum product used to lubricate the drill bit. DEP is working to verify this information.
 
DEP is currently in discussions with JKLM Energy on cleanup and remediation of the release. JKLM has also voluntarily suspended related drilling activities at the Reese Hollow site.
 
If residents suspect contamination with their water supply, they should contact DEP at 570-327-3636 immediately. Residents with impacted water supplies should not use their water for drinking, washing or bathing.

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Reporting of processed condensate exports is challenging

By Bob Downing Published: October 1, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

According to official U.S. trade data, the United States exported 21,000 barrels per day (b/d) of condensate derived wholly from natural gas (CDWFNG) to Brazil in July 2015. Under the current U.S. export classification system, CDWFNG falls under the general heading of crude oil within the 2709 Schedule B category. Consequently, these exports are counted as crude oil in the U.S. Energy Information Administration's (EIA) Petroleum Supply Monthly released yesterday.

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Tags: Brazil , crude oil , exports

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Ohio's 'shrinking' Utica Shale fails to match early predictions

By Bob Downing Published: October 1, 2015

Ted Auch of the FracTracker Alliance has a very interesting read on Ohio's Utica Shale and how its development failed to match predictions from the Ohio Geological Survey and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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ANGA applauds House committee for LNG export vote

By Bob Downing Published: October 1, 2015

From a Wednesday press release:

ANGA Applauds House Energy and Commerce Committee for Passage of 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 passage by the House Energy and Commerce Committee of the North American Energy Security & Infrastructure Act (H.R. 8). 

“We commend the House Energy and Commerce Committee for passing legislation that recognizes and seeks to maximize the opportunities presented by our nation’s domestic energy abundance. Language that would provide greater certainty to the Energy Department’s processing of permits for LNG export terminals is a significant step in the right direction. This policy has broad bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. We also are encouraged by several other provisions in the bill, including those that support workforce development and the streamlining of pipeline permitting. We look forward to working with members as this measure moves forward in Congress.” 

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CLNG commends House committee for LNG export vote

By Bob Downing Published: October 1, 2015

From a press release on Wednesday:

Washington, D.C.: The Center for Liquefied Natural Gas(CLNG) today commended the House Energy & Commerce Committee for supporting the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act, and specifically a requirement that the Department of Energy issue a decision on any application to export U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) no later than 30 days after the National Environmental Policy Act review has been completed.

 

Commenting, CLNG spokesperson Casey O’Shea said,

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Fracking-impacted individuals to meet in Denver on Oct. 3-5

By Bob Downing Published: October 1, 2015

From a press release today:


WHAT: 208 people from 30 states concerned by fracking-related oil and gas development are gathering for three days of workshops, trainings, strategy sessions, wisdom sharing, and more.

WHY: Since the last national summit in Dallas in 2013, communities have won fracking-related victories in California, Colorado, Maryland, New York, and Texas. Oil prices are the lowest they’ve been in a decade, and the fracking-driven oil and gas industry is in the midst of a severe contraction. In combination, these factors suggest the nationwide fracking movement is at a turning point. A point where communities can collectively gain the upper-hand in the fight to protect their health and welfare against a baldly malevolent oil and gas industry. The goal of this summit is to help make that potential a reality.

WHEN/WHERE: Holiday Inn - Stapleton in Denver, evening of October 2nd - 5th

WHO:
Issue experts
Wilma Subra is a chemist who provides technical assistance to citizens concerned with their environment by combining technical research and evaluation. She is a recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship “Genius” Grant and has served a 7 year term as Vice-Chair of the U.S. EPA National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology, and a 6 year term on the EPA National Environmental Justice Advisory Council.

Dr. Glenn Miller is a Professor in and former Chair of the University of Nevada, Reno Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Science. His research focus is the transport and transformation of organic and inorganic compounds.

Until he retired this year,Dr. Anthony Ingraffea was the Dwight C. Baum Professor and Weiss Presidential Teaching Fellow in the College of Engineering at Cornell University. He was also director of the Cornell Fracture Group and co-editor-in-chief of Engineering Fracture Mechanics. Dr. Ingraffea performed R&D for the oil & gas industry from 1984 through 2001 and is one of the most prominent national experts on the risks to water supplies from hydraulic fracturing for shale gas. Along with Dr. Robert Howarth, he was the first to sound the alarm regarding the climate impacts of hydraulic fracturing.

Keynote speaker
Chris Hedges is an American journalist, activist, author, and Presbyterian minister. He is currently a columnist for Truthdig, a senior fellow at The Nation Institute and a contributing author for OpEdNews. He has reported from more than fifty countries, and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, NPR, Dallas Morning News, and The New York Times, where he was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years (1990–2005) and one of a group of eight reporters awarded the Pulitzer Prize for coverage of global terrorism.

Representatives of 350.org, Delaware RiverKeeper, Earthworks, Food & Water Watch, FracTracker and other groups concerned with the impacts of fracking-related development.

Residents from AK, CA, CO, DC, FL, IA, ID, IL, KY, MA, MN, MT, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TX, VA, WA, WI, WY

People from Colorado, Wyoming, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and California’s Central Valley are immediately available for interviews. Attendees from other states will be available upon request.

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***

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API pleased with House committee vote on LNG exports

By Bob Downing Published: October 1, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute:

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Utica and Marcellus shale web sites

Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management State agency Web site.

ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. State drilling permits. List is updated weekly.

ODNR Division of Geological Survey.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio State University Extension.

Ohio Farm Bureau.

Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a Granville-based group that represents 1,500 Ohio energy-related companies.

Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program.

Energy In Depth, a trade group.

Marcellus and Utica Shale Resource Center by Ohio law firm Bricker & Eckler.

Utica Shale, a compilation of Utica shale activities.

Landman Report Card, a site that looks at companies involved in gas and oil leases.FracFocus, a compilation of chemicals used in fracking individual wells as reported voluntarily by some drillers.

Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.

Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.

Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.

National Geographic's The Great Shale Rush.

The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.

Buckeye Forest Council.

Earthjustice, a national eco-group.

Stop Fracking Ohio.

People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.

Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.

No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.

Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.

Penn State Marcellus Center.

Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.

Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.