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Ohio Utica Shale

Ohio Utica Shale blog to return on Jan. 4

By Bob Downing Published: December 30, 2015

The Ohio Utica Shale bog will return on Jan. 4. Happy holidays.

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19 N.Y. communities get foamers to fight crude oil rail fires

By Bob Downing Published: December 30, 2015

From the Associated Press:

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The federal government is giving 19 New York communities located along major rail lines an extra dose of security.
Emergency response trailers equipped with a foam substance that firefighters and hazardous materials teams can use to suppress fires caused by oil or other flammable liquids are being handed out by the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.
Albany, Amsterdam, Saratoga County, Guilderland and Newburgh are among the areas that will start deploying the trailers early next year. Homeland Security will maintain the trailers and train emergency personnel in how to use them.
The foam concentrate requires a mix of water to disperse. When sprayed, it resembles bath soap that forms a blanket over fire.
Train cars carry oil daily from North Dakota and Canada to the Port of Albany.

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Three Ohio groups seek to intervene in Nexus Pipeline review

By Bob Downing Published: December 30, 2015

Three Ohio grass-root groups including one in Medina County are seeking to intervene in the federal review of the 255-mile Nexus Pipeline across northern Ohio.
Sustainable Medina County and two Medina County residents, Georgia Kimble and Gary Freed, want to get approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to officially become involved in the federal review of the $2 billion natural gas pipeline.
Also seeking to become intervenors are Neighbors Against Nexus in Fulton County in northwest Ohio and the Freshwater Accountability Project, based in Grand Rapids near Bowling Green.
Toledo attorney Terry Lodge on Monday filed a 13-page request to FERC, seeking to get the three groups plus seven individuals designated as intervenors.
Lodge’s application raises nine concerns that the grass-root groups have about the Nexus Pipeline.
The pipeline that would run from eastern Ohio to Defiance in northwest Ohio and then north into Michigan is being developed by the Texas-based Nexus Gas Transmission LLC. Connections would then carry the natural gas to Ontario and to the Midwest.
Also involved are Detroit-based DTE Energy Co. and Texas-based Spectra Energy Partners.
The federal agency is expected to issue its final ruling on the project in late 2016.
Nexus Gas Transmission is planning to begin construction in January 2017 and to have the pipeline in operation by November 2017.
The pipeline, 36 inches in diameter, would transport up to 1.5 billion cubic feet per day, enough to heat 6 million homes.
Locally, the pipeline would run through Stark, Summit, Wayne and Medina counties.
The city of Green and a grass-roots group, the Coalition to Reroute Nexus, have urged that the pipeline be routed south of the Akron-Canton-Medina area in more rural southern Stark and Wayne counties. That proposal, which affect 103 miles of pipeline, has gotten a chilly reception from the company.
Anti-pipeline landowners in Summit and Medina counties have prevented the company from conducting surveys along the pipeline route. That issue is tied up in continuing court fights. Access in other Ohio counties has largely been resolved in court.
An Ohio-Michigan group, the Coalition for the Expansion of Pipeline Infrastructure, is supporting the Nexus Pipeline.
 

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Chesapeake Energy is having its worst year since 1998

By Bob Downing Published: December 30, 2015

Chesapeake Energy Corp, the No. 1 driller in Ohio's Utica Shale, is having its worst year since 1998 after halting dividend payouts, slashing drilling budgets and cutting one of every six employees failed to rescue the energy explorer from the deepest gas-market rout in 16 years, Bloomberg reported this week.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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EIA says Utica Shale production likely to grow in January

By Bob Downing Published: December 30, 2015

Utica Shale production is expected to grow from December to January, according to the U.S. Energy Information Adeministration.

It says natural gas production will likely grow by 127 million cubic feet per day and oil production will likely grow by 5,000 barrels of oil per day.

Those totals are for new Utica wells. Production will dip for Ohio's legacy wells.

Click  here  to see more.

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Pennsylvania high court decision allows EQT case to proceed

By Bob Downing Published: December 30, 2015

Pittsburgh-based EQT Corporation has learned that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in EQT’s favor in its dispute with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) regarding the Department’s interpretation of the Clean Streams law.

This decision allows the company’s case against the DEP to proceed in the Commonwealth Court and rejects DEP’s preliminary objections to the company’s complaint.

The ongoing legal proceedings relate to a 2012 impoundment leak in Tioga County, caused by a third-party contractor conducting DEP-approved water treatment.

Click  here  to read more.

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4.3-magnitude earthquake rattles Oklahoma City area

By Bob Downing Published: December 30, 2015

From the Associated Press on Tuesday:

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A strong, 4.3-magnitude earthquake woke many people in the Oklahoma City area early Tuesday and knocked out power to thousands of homes, the latest in a series of temblors that’s prompted state regulators to call for more restrictions on oil and gas operators.

The quake struck at 5:39 a.m. near the city of Edmond, which is a suburb north of Oklahoma City, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Geological Survey. A smaller earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 3.4 hit the same area about 10 minutes later.

No injuries were immediately reported, but the quake knocked out power to about 4,400 homes and businesses; electricity was restored quickly, Edmond spokesman Casey Moore said. Edmond police received about 15 reports of alarms going off at homes and businesses in the minutes after the quake.

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OOGA's Hill offers look back at 2015 and look forward to 2016

By Bob Downing Published: December 30, 2015

A recent blog post from David Hill, president of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association:

I would like to take a moment to reflect on past year and all that has materialized within the Ohio Oil and Gas Association in 2015. As I reflect on what we’ve seen over the year, the litany of issues the industry has faced this particular year have been seemingly insurmountable. I can't think of any time in the last 40-years where the hill to climb has seemed so high.

We have seen crude oil prices fall below $40 per barrel and natural gas prices are languishing at record lows, creating a general sense of gloom and doom among our industry on a global scale.

The price rut, brought to us mainly by Saudi Arabia, which is making an effort to control market share, is wreaking havoc on the United States’ domestic oil and gas industry. Decisions made half way around the globe are having real life implications right here in Ohio. Simultaneously, the collapse of the natural gas price in Appalachia, mainly due to lack of adequate infrastructure to get the gas out of the basin, is making life practically impossible for many members of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association.

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ArcLight CapitalPartners affiliate acquires Gulf Oil LP

By Bob Downing Published: December 30, 2015

From a press release:

ArcLight Capital Partners Affiliate Acquires Gulf Oil, LP

BOSTON, Dec. 29, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- ArcLight Capital Partners, LLC ("ArcLight"), one of the leading private equity firms focused on energy infrastructure investments, announced today that Chelsea Petroleum Products Holdings, LLC, an affiliate of ArcLight, completed the purchase of Gulf Oil, LP ("Gulf") from Cumberland Farms, Inc. ("Cumberland"). The acquisition of Gulf is the second major terminal acquisition by ArcLight in the past twelve months.

In a related transaction, Blue Hills Fuels, LLC, another ArcLight affiliate purchased Gulf's Assured Dealers business. The Assured Dealers business collects rent from over 200 owned or leased, but non-operated, independently franchised sites under the Gulf or Mobil brand that also purchase branded product under contract from Gulf.

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FERC gives green light to Pennsylvania's Sunbury Pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: December 30, 2015

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved a favorable envionmental assessment for the 34.4-mile Sunbury Pipeline in Pennsylvania.

The project would connect two natural gas pipelines and a coal-fired plant in Snyder County that is being converted to natural gas.

The 20-inch-in-diameter pipeline is being developed by UGI Sunbury LLC.

It could be operational on Feb. 1, 2017.

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Pennsylvania auditor general to track drilling impact fees

By Bob Downing Published: December 29, 2015

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale plans to investigate how local governments are spending the millions of dollars they’ve received from gas drilling impact fees.

The announcement was made last week.

The fees have brought in more than $854 million to Pennsylvania since 2012. The majority of that money gets sent back out to local governments. But so far, $33.1 million has been unaccounted for, because counties and municipalities have repeatedly had trouble filling out the paperwork to explain what they've done with it.

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

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Vorys law firm offers updates on two Ohio leasing lawsuits

By Bob Downing Published: December 29, 2015

The Vorys law firm this week summarized two drilling lease lawsuits from Ohio on its Energy and Environment Law Blog.

Click  here  to read more.

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Construction jobs grow in Weirton-Steubenville in last year

By Bob Downing Published: December 29, 2015

From a Tuesday press release:

CONSTRUCTION EMPLOYMENT INCREASES IN 190 OUT OF 358 METRO AREAS BETWEEN NOVEMBER 2014 AND 2015 AS FIRMS APPEAR MORE ABLE TO FIND WORKERS TO HIRE
New York City and Weirton-Steubenville, W.Va.-Ohio Top Growth List while Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas and Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, Miss. Experience the Largest Yearly Declines

Construction employment increased in 190 out of 358 metro areas, was unchanged in 64 and declined in 104 between November 2014 and November 2015, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials noted that the number of metro areas experiencing construction job growth continues to grow as firms appear to be having an easier time finding workers to hire steady amid reports of worker shortages.

"Construction employment is expanding in more parts of the country now that firms appear to be having more success finding workers to hire," said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist. "Firms may not be able to continue expanding their headcounts as rapidly unless public officials increase investments in career and technical education programs."

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Dominion East Ohio customers see drop in natural gas prices

By Bob Downing Published: December 29, 2015

From a Monday press release:

Dec 28, 2015

CLEVELAND, Dec. 28, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Dominion East Ohio expects increased energy production from the Marcellus and Utica shale formations in Ohio and nearby states to help provide ample supplies of natural gas at lower prices than a year ago.

"These abundant shale energy resources have led to lower national and regional market prices and our customers are reaping the benefits," said Jeff Murphy, vice president and general manager.

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Energy slump impacts housing markets in Texas, North Dakota

By Bob Downing Published: December 29, 2015

From the Associated Press:

There’s a dark side to those delightfully low gas prices: Housing markets are slumping in communities that were recently flush from the U.S. shale oil fracking boom.

Home sales are down sharply this year in North Dakota and the West Texas cities of Midland and Odessa. Home sales have also slowed in El Paso, and, more recently, in Houston.

The drilling boom, driven by high oil prices and new discoveries, brought tens of thousands of workers to oil fields in several states to run drilling rigs and supply the equipment and services needed to produce crude. Then the price of oil tanked, plummeting by half in late 2014 and reaching levels this year not seen since the financial crisis. Oil companies abandoned drilling projects and began laying off workers.

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Company identifies source of California methane leak

By Bob Downing Published: December 29, 2015

From the Associated Press on Monday:

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Southern California Gas Co. officials say they have pinpointed the specific well that for weeks has spewed noxious odors into an upscale Los Angeles neighborhood, prompting thousands of people to leave their homes over the holidays.

The utility company said Sunday it found the natural gas well, out of 115 in the area, with the use of a magnetic ranging tool that allows workers on the surface to locate underground targets as small as 7 inches in diameter.

Workers still aren’t sure exactly where the 8,700-foot well was breached but suspect it was somewhere within the first several hundred feet, Gas Co. spokeswoman Anne Silva said.

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Ohio has 1,665 drilled Utica wells, 1,120 producing Utica wells

By Bob Downing Published: December 29, 2015

Ohio has approved 2,113 Utica Shale permits, as of Dec. 26.

That total includes 1,665 drilled Utica wells and 1,120 producing Utica wells, says the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Ohio has 15 drilling rigs at work. That number has increased by one from last week.

Seven new permits were approved: two in Belmont County, one in Guernsey County and four in Monroe County.

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MHR gets approval for DIP financing and first-day motions

By Bob Downing Published: December 29, 2015

Texas-based Magnum Hunter Resources Corp. is the first Utica Shale driller to seek federal bankruptcy protection.

The company reported on Monday that a federal judge in Delaware had approved debtor-in-possession financing on an interim basis and all first-day motions filed by the company.

Click  here  to read more.

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Utica wells produce 95 percent of natural gas used by Ohioans

By Bob Downing Published: December 28, 2015

From Jim Zehringer, director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources in a release today:

Ohio’s Utica shale play continues to grow

Oil and natural gas production in Ohio continues to expand, reaching unprecedented amounts in 2015. At ODNR, our job is to ensure that this growth and development is done safely, keeping in mind that the communities in Ohio’s Utica shale play are relying on us to protect their residents, land and water. We continue to improve the processes, rules and regulations that help us accomplish that mission on a daily basis.

In 2015, we once again experienced record levels of oil and gas production in Ohio. During the first three quarters of 2015, Ohio’s horizontal shale well production surpassed the amount of oil and gas that was produced in all of 2014. Just four years ago, Ohio produced only 9 percent of the natural gas being used in the state. This year, Ohio’s wells produced more than 95 percent of the natural gas Ohioans consumed, and we anticipate that in 2016, natural gas production in Ohio will exceed the needs of Ohioans. Oil production continues to grow as well, with production estimates for next year expected to exceed those seen when J.D. Rockefeller made his fortune in the oil fields of northwest Ohio. Advancements in technology have enabled companies to drill longer and safer wells in shorter periods of time, while large investments continue to be made in pipeline infrastructure in order to transport the record volumes of oil and gas being produced in the state. This progress requires regulatory adjustment, and we continue to grow and improve with the industry.

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NPR's StateImpact Pennsylvania offers Year in Review

By Bob Downing Published: December 28, 2015

Pipelines, severance taxes and gas-fired electric power plants are all part of NPR's StateImpact 2015 Year in Review.

Click  here  to read/listen to the year's 10 top stories.

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Company acquires 94 million tons of Wisconsin fracking sand

By Bob Downing Published: December 28, 2015

From a press release:

Fort Worth, Texas - December 22, 2015 - Superior Silica Sands LLC ("SSS"), a subsidiary of Emerge Energy Services LP (NYSE: EMES), is pleased to announce that it has completed the acquisition of approximately 94 million tons of high quality northern white silica sand reserves in Jackson County, Wisconsin from a subsidiary of Performance Technologies, L.L.C. ("PTL"), which is wholly-owned by Seventy Seven Energy Inc. (NYSE: SSE). The assets acquired include certain owned and leased land, sand deposit leases and related prepaid royalties, and transferable mining and reclamation permits.  In consideration for the assets, PTL and SSS amended and restated the existing supply agreement between the parties and entered into a new sand purchase option agreement that provide PTL with a market-based discount on sand purchased from SSS. At the closing of the transaction, SSS also reimbursed PTL for certain capital expenditures associated with the assets. 

Under the new agreements with PTL, SSS has the option to supply the contracted tons from its existing footprint of northern white sand operations or construct a new sand mine and dry plant in Jackson County, Wisconsin. Given the current challenging market conditions for proppant demand, SSS will defer the construction of the new facility until the North American oil and gas markets improve.

"PTL has been a valued customer of SSS for several years, so consummating a transaction with them made strong strategic sense," commented Rick Shearer, President and CEO of SSS. "This transaction not only provides SSS with an increase to its high quality sand reserves but also strengthens our position in the market place with a leading pressure pumper across a number of shale plays in North America. We look forward to working more closely with PTL by supplying them a reliable base of high quality frac sand and newly expanded technologically-driven proppants."

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No injuries, no propane leaks from W. Va. train derailment

By Bob Downing Published: December 28, 2015

From the Associated Press late last week:

Officials say no one was injured after a train that was carrying propane derailed in West Virginia.

CSX Spokeswoman Melanie Cost said six CSX train cars ran off the tracks in New Martinsville early Thursday and four of the cars fell on their sides.

New Martinsville Fire Chief Larry Couch said there was no damage to the cars. No propane, also known as liquefied petroleum gas, was released.

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Concern over injection wells grows in Ohio's Athens County

By Bob Downing Published: December 28, 2015

Felicia Mettler is an activist in Ohio's Athens County and has gotten very involved in fighting injection wells for drilling wastes.

Athens County is No. 1 for handling such wastes in Ohio, based on data for the first nine months of 2015.

Click  here  to read the Columbus Dispatch story by Laura Areschield.

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Low prices, commodity gluts hit Ohio's Utica Shale

By Bob Downing Published: December 27, 2015

Drilling is slowing down in Ohio’s Utica Shale due low commodity prices and growing energy supplies.
Continued low prices tied to the Organization of Oil Exporting Countries’ efforts to derail shale drilling in the United States have put a major crimp into drilling for natural gas and liquids in Ohio and other shale-drilling states.
OPEC has continued production, despite an oil glut that has reduced prices to $36 a barrel, in order to maintain its market share.
That natural gas-oil glut and low prices are good news for consumers who have cheap natural gas for heating their houses and petroleum for fueling their vehicles, but it has created serious problems for struggling energy companies.
And those impacts are also being felt across much of eastern Ohio in hotels, restaurants, gas stations and industries that supply drillers.
Warm winter temperatures are also hurting energy producers because there is less demand for Utica natural gas.
Some drillers have canceled, scaled back or postponed drilling. Some have voluntarily cutback on production. Less money is earmarked in 2016 on well drilling. Some drillers have moved out of Ohio. Others are trying to sell off non-core assets. Some are seeking financial partners to share the costs. Many have incurred heavy debt. About 20 firms across the country have filed for bankruptcy protection. That includes Magnum Hunter Resources Corp. that is an active Utica driller.
Many of the drillers in Ohio are in “survival mode,” said Shawn Bennett, executive vice president of the Ohio Oil & Gas Association, a statewide trade group.
It is an industry facing “significant turmoil,” he said. “What we’re witnessing is a ‘perfect storm’ of circumstances,” he said.
It appears unlikely that the situation will improve in the first nine months of 2016 and it may be 2017 before financial conditions improve, he said. “We’re looking at more of the same from late 2015,” he said.
Ohio is going to see “less wells drilled and less wells producing” until prices rise, he said.
Ohio needs to “sit tight” and wait for energy prices to rise, a move that will bring rigs and drilling back to Ohio, he said.
Ohio is seeing a major cutback in Utica drilling.
From July through September, Ohio had about 25 horizontal wells that were being drilled, compared to 170 a year earlier, Bennett said “Every company is pulling back…and that hurts,” he said.
The number of drilling rigs in Ohio has dropped from 59 to 14 in the last 12 months, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
That means some companies won’t have any drilling rigs in Ohio in 2016 and the majority will only have one rig, Bennett said.
Carroll County, the No. 1 drilling spot in Ohio in the past, will have only a single rig drilling new wells, he said.
Ohio has issued 619  Utica permits in 2015, compared to 1,116 in 2014, the state said.
Ohio has 1,664 drilled Utica wells, of which 1,121 are producing Utica wells.  
Ohio is not the only shale drilling area that is hurting.
Pennsylvania recorded only 76 Marcellus Shale drilling permits in September  and 68 in October, compared to 600 permits a month in most of 2010. Texas, North Dakota and Oklahoma are all experiencing drilling cutbacks.
Despite fewer wells being drilled in Ohio, production from the Utica Shale is continuing to grow. Oil production grew by 2 percent and natural gas grew by 10 percent from the second quarter to the third quarter 2015. That was due largely to drilling improvements, new wells coming on line and new wells being hooked up to pipelines.
The Utica Shale is a very successful resource, but the economics are just not working out for drillers at this time, Bennett said.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that gas production in the United States is expected to climb in 2016 for the sixth straight year. U.S. gas production has climbed 30 percent since 2008 due to shale.
Many of the newest wells are being drilled because companies must drill to hold onto leases or must ship certain amounts of gas to comply with pipeline contracts, Bennett said.
But those companies are struggling to sell their natural gas in a glutted market where new interstate pipelines are needed.
Bennett said three things would help Ohio natural gas producers: colder winters and hotter summers, more gas-burning power plants to produce electricity and growth in local industries like petrochemicals that can use the natural gas and liquids from the Utica Shale.
A fourth option would be for Utica Shale producers to ship natural gas and liquids to markets elsewhere via new pipelines, he said.
Nationally, natural gas has been selling for just over $2.10 per thousand cubic feet. That’s at locations like Louisiana’s Henry Hub where it is distributed across the country via interstate pipelines.
Ohio drillers, however, have been handicapped by the lack of pipelines. They have been getting far less: about $1.12 per thousand cubic feet. But without more pipelines, they don’t have shipping or sales options and the growing natural gas supply remains trapped in the basin. Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania are poised to get 34 new pipeline projects by 2018.
The high liquid content of Ohio’s Utica Shale natural gas is also hurting sales, Bennett said.
Drillers must now pay to have ethane and other liquids removed from all but the driest gas they produce. The pipelines won’t accept the natural gas if the ethane levels are too high.
Those liquids — ethane, butane and propane — were seen as a plus when the Utica Shale drilling started. That’s because it produced additional income for drillers.
But an ethane glut resulted and the price has plummeted. Now drillers must sometimes remove the ethane at a loss: They get less for their liquids than what it cost processors to separate them from the gas. That has left the Utica Shale at a disadvantage.
As a result, drillers in Ohio are primarily interested in the dry natural gas with little liquids in Ohio’s Belmont, Monroe and Harrison counties.
Ethane may remain a financial burden for drillers in Ohio until an ethane cracker plant is built. There are also pipelines planned to carry Utica ethane south to the Gulf Coast for processing.
A cracker plant turns ethane into polyethylene, a key ingredient in making plastics. There are proposals to build a $5.7 billion plant by a Asian chemical-maker in Ohio’s Belmont County. Royal Dutch Shell is looking into building a $4 billion plant in Pennsylvania’s Beaver County. A South American consortium wants to build a plant near Parkersburg, W. Va. Only one, if any, of those plants will likely be built, Bennett said.

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FirstEnergy razing old power plant, site could house cracker

By Bob Downing Published: December 27, 2015

Major demolition is scheduled to begin next spring  on a now-closed FirstEnergy Corp. coal-fired power plant on the Ohio River — with billon-dollar plans for the 150-acre site.
The work at the R.E. Burger Plant at Shadyside began in August  with asbestos removal, and razing the complex will continue to next fall,  said company spokeswoman Jennifer Young.
Disappearing will be two boilers that burned coal to generate electricity, plus smaller coal-fired and oil-fired peaking units that were used when electric demand was high.
The boilers and the plant’s concrete stack are likely to removed next summer, she said.
Akron-based FirstEnergy hopes to turn the 150-acre Belmont County site into green space and that could include digging up and replacing two feet of soil and planting grass, she said.
The site, along with an adjoining 300 acres, is projected to become the home of a proposed $5.7 billion ethane cracker plant that has been described at the biggest economic development project ever in Ohio.
A deal to acquire the Burger site has not been finalized, Young said.
The parties have been in negotiations and those talks are continuing, she said.
Those talks have involved JobsOhio, Ohio’s private economic development agency, and Thai-based PTT Global Chemical, the company behind the cracker proposal.
The plant would take ethane from the Utica and Marcellus shales in Ohio and nearby states. It would be converted into ethylene and resins that would be used to make plastics, textiles and pharmaceuticals.
Last September, the company said it was investing $100 million on engineering studies for the petrochemical complex. That work is expected to take 9 to 12 months. But the Thai firm said a final decision on building the plant won’t be made until 2016 or 2017.
A subsidiary, PTT Global Chemical America, has optioned the property near state Route 7 in Mead Township for the complex.
Building the cracker plant would take about 3½ years.
Also involved in the project is the Japan-based Marubeni Corp.
The Shadyside cracker plant is one of four that have been proposed in Ohio, West Virginia and western Pennsylvania, although it is uncertain if any will be built.
The other plants are in Royal Dutch Shell’s $4 billion plant in Monaca, Pa., a plant proposed by a South American consortium near Parkersburg, W. Va., and Appalachian Resin’s proposal for a small plant in Ohio’s Monroe County. Plans for that Ohio cracker have been suspended.
Ethane can also be shipped via pipelines to the Gulf Coast for processing.
The main Burger coal-fired boilers came on line in 1944 and other units were added in the 1950s.
 In 2009, FirstEnergy had announced its $200 million plan to burn wood chips in the two main boilers at the Burger plant to keep the aging plant open and to comply with a 2005 federal mandate to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions from its coal-fired plants.
Those plans were later scrapped and the plant’s two main boilers were shut down in late 2010. Other plant components were shut down in late 2011. The last oil-fired peaking units that could produce 7 megawatts of electricity were shut down last September. 

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Pennsylvania approves air permit for gas-fired power plant

By Bob Downing Published: December 24, 2015

From a Wednesday press release:

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EIA mapping system outlines U.S. energy infrastructure

By Bob Downing Published: December 24, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

For the next two weeks (Dec. 21–Dec. 31), Today in Energy will feature a selection of our favorite articles from 2015. Today's article was originally published on Jun. 16, 2015.

EIA's energy mapping system is a data-intensive visual reference tool that includes several map layers defining energy infrastructure components across the United States. Using this series of maps, viewers can see crude oil, petroleum, natural gas, or hydrocarbon gas liquid pipelines, terminals, and ports in their area, as well as high voltage electric transmission lines. The mapping system combines information from many government agencies as well as public and private sources. Understanding infrastructure components is helpful as energy supply and consumption patterns change.

Read More ›

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Rice Energy trust sells 5 million shares of stock to reduce debt

By Bob Downing Published: December 23, 2015

From a press release from Rice Energy, a key driller in Ohio's Utica Shale:

CANONSBURG, Pa., Dec. 22, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Rice Energy Inc. (NYSE: RICE) ("Rice") today reported that on December 21, 2015, the Rice Energy Irrevocable Trust ("Rice Trust", the "Trust"), a private Trust established for the benefit of members of the Rice family, executed a block sale of 5,000,000 shares of Rice common stock to pay down a line of credit extended to the Rice Trust by Morgan Stanley Private Bank, National Association ("Morgan Stanley").

Daniel J. Rice IV, Chief Executive Officer, said, "Prior to this transaction, the Rice family had not sold a single share of Rice Energy since the family formed the company in 2007. In order to pay taxes and expenses incurred as a result of the Rice Energy IPO in 2014, the Rice Trust obtained two loans, the terms of which the Trust has been in compliance with at all times. However, in light of current volatile financial market conditions, the Rice Trust determined that repaying the loans preemptively in an orderly and structured manner was the most prudent path towards preventing a potential margin call event in the future that could possibly detrimentally impact Rice Energy's share price performance. As Rice Energy's largest shareholder, in no way does this stock sale reflect the Rice family's commitment to Rice Energy or its view of Rice Energy's future performance potential."

As disclosed in a Schedule 13D/A filed on December 21, 2015, on December 15, 2014, the Rice Trust entered into a line of credit agreement (the "Line of Credit Agreement") with Morgan Stanley for up to $33,000,000, and a Financial Assets Security Agreement (the "Security Agreement"), pursuant to which the Rice Trust pledged 6,750,000 shares of Rice common stock as security for its obligations to Morgan Stanley under the Line of Credit Agreement.

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Eagle LNG to provide fuel for new LNG-powered ships in Fla.

By Bob Downing Published: December 23, 2015

From a recent press release:

Crowley Selects Eagle LNG as Marine Fuel Provider for New, LNG-Powered Ships

Supporting LNG Infrastructure will be built in Jacksonville, Ready for Use in 2017

(JACKSONVILLE, Fla.; December 16, 2015) – Crowley Puerto Rico Services, Inc. has selected Eagle LNG Partners (Eagle LNG) as the liquefied natural gas (LNG)-supplier for the company’s new LNG-powered, Commitment Class ships, which will be delivered in 2017 for use in the U.S. mainland to Puerto Rico trade. To support Crowley’s LNG needs, Eagle LNG will build a natural gas liquefaction plant (LNG plant) offering a capacity of 200,000 gallons per day (87,000 gallons per day initially) in Jacksonville. The state-of-the-art facility is slated to be operational by early 2017.

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Enterprise Products plans first crude oil export in January

By Bob Downing Published: December 23, 2015

Texas-based Enterprise Products Partners L.P. today announced that it has agreed to provide pipeline and marine terminal services to load its first export of crude oil produced in the United States under the law enacted earlier this month.

The 600,000 barrel cargo of domestic light crude oil is scheduled to load at the Enterprise Hydrocarbon Terminal (EHT) on the Houston Ship Channel during the first week of January 2016.

“We are excited to announce our first contract to export U.S. crude oil, which to our knowledge may be the first export cargo of U.S. crude oil from the Gulf Coast in almost 40 years,” said A.J. “Jim” Teague, chief operating officer of Enterprise’s general partner. “Enterprise’s integrated system enabled us to quickly respond to customer demand for U.S. crude oil by international markets.”

Click  here  to read more.

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Companies to proceed with ethane cracker in Louisiana

By Bob Downing Published: December 23, 2015

Axiall Corp. and Lotte Chemical Corp. of the Republic of Korea have agreed to build an ethane cracker complex in Lake Charles, La.

The $3 billion complex is expected to begin operations in 2019.

It is likely to get natural gas from the Utica and Marcellus shales in Ohio and nearby states via pipelines.

Click  here  to read more.

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FERC sets new index level for interstate pipeline rate ceilings

By Bob Downing Published: December 23, 2015

From a FERC press release last week:

FERC Establishes New Five-Year Oil Pipeline Index Level

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) today established a new index level to calculate annual changes for interstate oil pipeline rate ceilings for 2016 through 2021.

After concluding its fourth five-year review of the index established in Order No. 561, FERC set the new index level of Producer Price Index for Finished Goods plus 1.23 percent (PPI-FG+1.23) for the five-year period beginning July 1, 2016. The current index level is PPI-FG+2.65.

The Commission’s adoption of an index level of PPI-FG+1.23 reflects its review of the Page 700 data found in FERC Form No. 6 Annual Report of Oil Pipeline Companies and the comments submitted following the June 30, 2015, Notice of Inquiry. FERC concluded the Page 700 data more accurately measure changes in oil pipeline costs than the Form No. 6 accounting data used by the Commission in prior five-year reviews.

R-16-07

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Belmont County is Ohio's county to watch in 2016, EID says

By Bob Downing Published: December 23, 2015

From Energy in Depth-Ohio:

11:11am EST December 22, 2015

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

This past year has been amazing for the Utica Shale in Ohio, as production of oil and gas in the state has more than doubled. At the end of 2014, EID reported that the counties to watch in 2015 included Monroe, Belmont, and Noble Counties — and we were right. Production results for the first three quarters of 2015 showed Utica Shale development trended south to these counties, and the best producing wells, particularly natural gas wells, have been located in these counties. But as we look ahead to 2016, one of these counties, Belmont, is where the real story of promise will lie.

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Trumbull County injection well appeal derailed by technicality

By Bob Downing Published: December 23, 2015

A technicality has derailed an appeal filed by Howland-based American Water Management Services of a decision by the Ohio Oil and Gas Commission regarding an AWMS injection well in Weathersfield Township, the Youngstown Vindicator reported on Sunday.

Last Friday, Judge Kimberly Cocroft of Franklin County Common Pleas Court dismissed the appeal on the grounds the company failed to notify the Oil and Gas Commission of the appeal by the deadline.

The company has said it will appeal.

Click  here  to read more.

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Eco-group says Pa. radiation review is inaccurate, invalid

By Bob Downing Published: December 23, 2015

An environmental organization says an 11-month-old Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection report, which found little risk of radioactivity exposure from shale gas drilling and development, is incomplete, inaccurate and invalid, and should be redone, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

Click  here  to read the full story by reporter Don Hopey..

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CORN questions Ontario approval of Nexus Pipeline contracts

By Bob Downing Published: December 22, 2015

From a press release today:

Ontario Energy approves NEXUS contract opposed by its own staff

Ontario, Canada - December 22, 2015 - Despite the recommendation from its own staff, the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) has approved applications from two Canadian gas distributors (Union Gas and Enbridge Energy) for 15-year contracts to move natural gas from the Appalachian Basin into the Union Gas Dawn Hub on the proposed NEXUS Gas Transmission pipeline. Contracts call for operations to begin in November 2017.
“Unexplainably, the decision by OEB members is counter to the recommendation of its own staff,” said Paul L. Gierosky, co-founder of the Coalition to Reroute Nexus (CoRN), a grassroots organization whose Mission is to change the proposed pipeline’s path to less densely populated areas in Ohio.
“A month ago staff members of QEB cited multiple reasons to oppose the NEXUS pipeline including the length of the contract, the costs and possible changes in the natural gas market. So why, after such strong recommendations from its own staff, would the Ontario Energy Board approve these applications?” asked Gierosky
On November 26, 2016 the staff recommended the Board deny these contracts citing:
1. Each utility’s NEXUS contract represents a very significant portion of total gas supply requirements being locked-in for a period of 15-years beginning November 1, 2017.23 OEB staff submits that the long-term contracts on NEXUS proposed by Union and Enbridge reduce supply flexibility due to the 15-year term and the significant amount of capacity that is contracted.

2. Purchasing delivered supplies at a market hub allows for short term contracting
options, which increases supply flexibility. OEB staff submits that the benefits
arising from the purchase of delivered supplies in terms of supply security, diversity
and flexibility and an overall reduction of risk to ratepayers outweigh the costs.
3. Significant change in the natural gas market will occur over a 15-year period.
There could be a significant reduction of demand for natural gas in the province in
response to government policy. At a time where there is uncertainty in the natural
gas market due to concerns around climate change, supply flexibility is paramount.
4. There are alternatives to the proposed NEXUS contracts that can achieve the
same benefits at an overall lower risk to ratepayers.
5. Purchasing delivered supplies at market hubs (Dawn and/or Chicago) will be a
lower risk option for ratepayers than the NEXUS contracts.
NEXUS is a joint venture between DTE Energy and Spectra Energy in cooperation
with Enridge Energy, a Canadian company. Union Gas is a subsidiary of Spectra
Energy. The NEXUS project proposes to construct an approximately 255-mile
interstate natural gas transmission pipeline to deliver 1.5 billion cubic feet per day
(Bcf/d) shale gas from receipt points in eastern Ohio to existing pipeline system
interconnects in southeastern Michigan and Ontario Canada.

 

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AFL-CIO supports new federal silica exposure limits

By Bob Downing Published: December 22, 2015

A comment from AFL-CIO Director of Safety and Health Peg Seminario on proposed OSHA silica standards that would affect drillers using sand:

OSHA has sent the final rules to the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review.

She said:

The AFL-CIO is pleased that this life-saving rule has made it to the last step in the rulemaking process. In the nearly 20 years since the fight began to win a new silica standard to protect workers, thousands have become disabled or died from exposure to silica dust. But now the finish line is finally in sight.

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Columbia Gas to spend $1.1 billion on modernization program

By Bob Downing Published: December 22, 2015

From a press release:

HOUSTON, Dec. 18, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC ("Columbia Transmission"), a subsidiary of Columbia Pipeline Group, Inc. (NYSE: CPGX) and Columbia Pipeline Partners LP (NYSE: CPPL) (together, "CPG"), has filed a customer agreement with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ("FERC") to extend its long-term system modernization program.  Columbia Transmission has requested FERC's approval of the customer agreement by March 31, 2016, which will allow critical planning and scoping work to commence in a timely manner.

The filing extends and expands the first-of-its-kind customer agreement, initially approved by the FERC in January 2013.  The program will be extended three years, through 2020, and will provide for approximately $1.1 billion of additional investment.  The agreement also expands the scope of facility investments covered by the program.

"We are pleased to extend our Modernization Program, which continues a collaborative partnership with our customers to enhance the safety and reliability of the Columbia Transmission system," said CPG President Glen Kettering.  "Further, we believe this agreement is fully consistent with the FERC's recently issued Modernization Policy Statement."

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U. S. Steel postpones building Alabama steelmaking furnace

By Bob Downing Published: December 22, 2015

U.S. Steel Corp., the biggest domestic producer of pipes and tubes used by the beleaguered energy industry, is postponing plans to build a steelmaking furnace in Alabama as drilling-rig counts and gas prices tumble, Bloomberg reported.

The plant, which was to produce 1.6 million tons of steel using an electric-arc furnace, replacing a blast furnace at the site, will be postponed until conditions in steel and energy markets improve, Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel said in a statement Monday.

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

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Stone Energy to refrain from Appalachian Basin drilling

By Bob Downing Published: December 22, 2015

From a Monday press release:

LAFAYETTE, La., Dec. 21, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Stone Energy Corporation (NYSE: SGY) today provided an update on its 2016 capital expenditure budget, drilling and production operations and updated fourth quarter and annual 2015 production guidance. 

2016 Capital Expenditure Budget

Stone's Board of Directors has authorized an initial 2016 capital expenditure budget of $200 million, subject to further Board review. The proposed expenditures are primarily focused on the Pompano platform rig development program and the utilization of the ENSCO 8503 deep water rig for a development well and one to two exploration wells.  The budget includes minimal activity in the Appalachian basin, satisfying regulatory abandonment commitments and contractual seismic and leasehold commitments. The budget also assumes some success in farming-out the ENSCO 8503 rig to another operator or using the rig on a farm-in opportunity with a low working interest ownership.  The budget excludes acquisitions and capitalized SG&A and interest as well as potential subsidy expense associated with a rig farmout. The budget is allocated approximately 80%-85% to the Gulf of Mexico basin, 3%-5% in Appalachia, and 10%-15% to abandonment expenditures.  The estimated capital expenditure for 2015 is projected to be approximately $460-$470 million.

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Marathon Petroleum announces management changes

By Bob Downing Published: December 22, 2015

From Marathon Petroleum on Monday

FINDLAY, Ohio, Dec. 21, 2015 - Marathon Petroleum Corporation (NYSE: MPC) President and Chief Executive Officer Gary R. Heminger today announced changes in the company's senior management structure that will be effective Jan. 1, 2016.

Donald C. Templin, executive vice president, Supply, Transportation and Marketing, has been named president, MPLX (NYSE: MPLX). Templin will continue to report to Heminger and remain an executive vice president of MPC. He will be located in Findlay.

Also effective Jan. 1, Pamela K. M. Beall, MPC's senior vice president, Corporate Planning, Government and Public Affairs, will become executive vice president, Corporate Planning and Strategy at MPLX, reporting to Templin. She will also remain in Findlay. 

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Law firm looking at issues tied to crude oil rail shipments

By Bob Downing Published: December 22, 2015

The BakerHostetler law firm is kicking off a three-part series looking at legal issues tied to growing crude oil shipments by rail.

Click  here  to read Part 1 of the series.

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Williams names Seldenrust vice president of engineering

By Bob Downing Published: December 22, 2015

Oklahoma-based Williams has named John Seldenrust to be the new senior vice president of engineering and construction, effective Jan. 1.

Click  here  to read the company press release.

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Ohio rig counts drops from 16 to 14; state had 59 a year ago

By Bob Downing Published: December 22, 2015

Ohio has approved 2,110 Utica Shale permits, as of Dec. 19.

That total includes 1,664 drilled Utica wells and 1,121 producing Utica wells, says the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

The number of rigs working in Ohio declined by two from 16 to 14.

Ohio had 59 rigs working in early December 2014.

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BP to acquire San Juan Basin assets from Devon Energy

By Bob Downing Published: December 22, 2015

BP's U.S. Lower 48 Onshore gas and oil company is acquiring assets in the San Juan Basin from Oklahoma-based Devon Energy.

That includes 480 producing wells and 33,000 acers in New Mexico and Colorado.

The sales price was not disclosed.

Click  here  to learn more.

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Hilcorp, Carlyle form partnership for North American drilling

By Bob Downing Published: December 22, 2015

From a Friday press release:

Houston, TX – Hilcorp Energy Company ("Hilcorp"), a privately owned oil and gas exploration and development company based in Houston, Texas, today announced the establishment of a newly formed partnership, Hilcorp Energy Development, L.P. (the "Company"), which seeks to acquire, operate and develop onshore oil and natural gas properties and related assets in North America.  In conjunction with the establishment of the Company, the Carlyle Energy Mezzanine Opportunities Fund, L.P. and Carlyle Energy Mezzanine Opportunities Fund II, L.P. ("Carlyle"), funds controlled by The Carlyle Group, have entered into a definitive agreement to invest up to $1.24 billion in the newly formed partnership.

The Company actively seeks to leverage the expertise of Hilcorp's management and technical staff to exploit attractive opportunities in the North American energy sector.  “Hilcorp is one of the preeminent oil and gas developers and operators in the United States,” said David Albert, Managing Director at The Carlyle Group and Co-Head of the Carlyle Energy Mezzanine Opportunities Group.  “Hilcorp’s superior ability to reduce costs and improve production and offtake efficiencies is impressive, and in large part, has enabled it to build a successful multi-decade track record of value creation.  We are thrilled to be partnered with Hilcorp.”

“Carlyle is an outstanding partner that understands our business and has the capacity to grow with us at a time in the oil and gas industry when we believe there will be significant opportunity,” said Jason Rebrook, Executive Vice President at Hilcorp.  “We are particularly excited to be partnered with the Carlyle energy credit team and look forward to growing Hilcorp Energy Development together.“

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Local officials in six states seek local control of drilling

By Bob Downing Published: December 21, 2015

From a press release today:

Chatham County, N.C. – As state legislatures and state supreme courts around the country are barring local governments from preventing or even regulating drilling in their communities, Environment America announced broad support for local control of fracking from more than 250 mayors, county commissioners, city councilors, state legislators and other local elected officials from six states.

Many of fracking’s impacts – from air and water pollution to earthquakes and ruined roads – are felt most heavily at the local level, prompting communities from Texas to North Carolina to seek to restrict the practice. But the oil and gas industry and their allies in state governments are fighting back.

“In the rush to attract gas drillers to North Carolina, the state legislature has ruled that this one industry is more important than a local government’s responsibility to protect the health and welfare of citizens,” said Chatham County commissioner Diana Hales.

The battle over who regulates fracking comes as the scientific evidence against the drilling technique continues to mount. A recent draft assessment by the EPA on fracking’s impacts to drinking water revealed that every stage of the fracking water lifecycle is vulnerable to water contamination.  An analysis of recent peer-reviewed studies determined that 72 percent of them showed “indication of potential, positive association, or actual incidence of water contamination.”

The best way for states to protect public health from fracking is to follow the lead of states like Maryland and New York and put a stop to the dirty drilling practice altogether, Environment America said today. Until then, city and county governments should have the chance to protect their citizens from harm, said the group.

“Local communities bear the brunt of fracking’s harms and deserve clean water and clean air, so they deserve local control of fracking,” said Rachel Richardson, Stop Drilling program director with Environment America.

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Driller declines Oklahoma request to close injection wells

By Bob Downing Published: December 21, 2015

SandRidge Energy Inc. has declined a request from an Oklahoma state agency to voluntarily close six injection wells in north-central Oklahoma near the Kansas state lines due to continuing earthquakes from those disposal wells.

The state also asked the owners of 40 other wells to voluntarily curtail the volume of drilling wastes being injected in that area.

The company's action could trigger a showdown with Oklahoma.

Click  here  to read more.

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Wood Group acquires Kelchner Inc. to boost shale construction

By Bob Downing Published: December 21, 2015

From a press release today:

HOUSTON, December 21, 2015 - Wood Group has acquired  Kelchner Inc. (Kelchner), a privately-owned US-based provider of construction  and energy field services.

Kelchner will operate within the onshore business of Wood  Group PSN Americas, providing construction capabilities primarily to the midstream  and upstream oil and gas sector in the Marcellus and Utica shale basins, and  broader industrial sectors.  

The firm serves the energy and industrial markets providing  turnkey compressor and metering stations, civil work, fabrication, roustabout  and well pad and roadway construction services.   In 2014 Kelchner generated sales of approximately $93 million.  

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Rice Energy gets $500 million from energy infrastructure fund

By Bob Downing Published: December 21, 2015

From a press release today:

CANONSBURG, Pa., Dec. 21, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Rice Energy Inc. (NYSE: RICE) ("Rice") today announced that it has agreed to non-binding terms with an energy infrastructure fund to invest up to $500 million in preferred equity in Rice Midstream Holdings LLC ("RMH"), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rice, and common equity in a new wholly-owned subsidiary of RMH, "GP Holdings", which will be formed to hold the common units, subordinated units and incentive distribution rights in Rice Midstream Partners LP (NYSE: RMP) currently held by RMH.

The closing of the transaction is expected to occur in the first quarter of 2016 and is subject to the completion of diligence, definitive documentation and satisfactory customary conditions precedent. At closing, Rice Energy plans to utilize $375 million, of which it intends to use a portion to repay all outstanding borrowings under RMH's revolving credit facility, and the remainder to fund Rice's 2016 development of its core Marcellus Shale and Utica Shale wells.

Commenting on the announcement, Grayson T. Lisenby, Chief Financial Officer, said, "This planned transaction strongly positions Rice to fully fund its 2016 E&P budget with cash on hand and operating cash flow. The undrawn commitment will provide flexibility to continue to grow our midstream business in the core of the Utica. Additionally, it will help illuminate the long-term value potential of our retained midstream enterprise. We look forward to finalizing this transaction and sharing additional details upon closing."

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Factors will shape the effects of lifting crude export ban

By Bob Downing Published: December 21, 2015

From the Y.S. Energy Information Administration today:

For the next two weeks (Dec. 21–Dec. 31), Today in Energy will feature a selection of our favorite articles from 2015. Today's article was originally published on Sep. 2, 2015.

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

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Shale drilling lowers Pennsylvania property values by $30,000

By Bob Downing Published: December 21, 2015

A new economic study from Duke University says shale drilling may decrease home values by more than $30,000 in areas that rely on well water.

That impact is on homes within one mile of shale drilling.

The study looked at property values in Pennsylvania.

Click  here  to read more from the Triangle Business Journal.

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Could Ohio be facing an 'ethane tsunami' in coming years?

By Bob Downing Published: December 21, 2015

Ohio in coming years is going to find itself in the middle of an "ethane tsunami" from its Utica Shale.

That assessment comes from Andrew Thomas of the Center for Economic Development and the Energy Policy Center at Cleveland State University's Maxine Goodman Levy College of Urban Affairs in an article in Crains Cleveland Business.

Click  here  to read more.

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Groups rate 30 drilling companies in fracking scorecard

By Bob Downing Published: December 21, 2015

More than 70 percent of drilling companies fail  to adequately  disclose risks from hydraulic fracturing or fracking to investors, according to a new assesment from three groups: As You Sow, the Investor Environmental Health Network and Boston Common Asset Management.

They judged  30 drilling companies in its third annual report.

The highest grades went to BHP Biliton, followed by Hess, Apache,  Noble and CONSOL Energy.

Click  here  to read more.

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Grass-roots groups in five states form new shale collaborative

By Bob Downing Published: December 21, 2015

A number of grass-roots groups in Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York and Virginia have banded together to form the Multi-State Shale Research Collorative.

The new group is focusing on economic and community impacts in the Utica and Marcellus shales.

To read more, click here.

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Halcon to take 'more tempered' approach in 2016 drilling

By Bob Downing Published: December 21, 2015

From a press release last week  from Halcon Resources Corp.that suspended its Utica Shale drilling in eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania in March 2014:

HOUSTON, TEXAS, Dec. 18, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Halcón Resources Corporation (NYSE:HK) ("Halcón" or the "Company") today announced its preliminary 2016 outlook.

Despite being significantly hedged in 2016 at an average price of $80.59 per barrel of oil and currently having approximately $800 million of liquidity, the Company expects to take a more tempered approach to 2016 than originally planned due to continued weakness in oil prices.

Halcón's preliminary drilling and completion budget for 2016 is $180 - $210 million. The Company expects to reduce drilling and completion activity in both the Williston Basin and the El Halcón area in East Texas in 2016. Halcón estimates that the reduced activity level in 2016 should result in a production profile that is flat to down approximately 5% when compared to 2015.

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Office of Natural Resources Revenue oversees federal leases

By Bob Downing Published: December 21, 2015

The U.S. Department of Interior's Office of Natural Resources Revenue is a little-known federal agency.

It oversees leases and royalty payments on federal and Native American lands plus offshore on the Outer Continetal Shelf.

The BakerHostetler law firm offers a look at the agency and its operations. Click  here  to read more.

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Ohio Supreme Court hears arguments on Monroe Co. leases

By Bob Downing Published: December 21, 2015

Last week, the Ohio Supreme Court heard oral arguments on two cases from Monroe County on drilling lease validity.

Both cases involved Beck Energy Corp. in Portage County.

Click  here  to read more from the Vorys Sater Seymour and Pease law firm.

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Hilcorp Energy gives $100,000 bonuses to 1,400 employees

By Bob Downing Published: December 21, 2015

Houston-based Hilcorp Energy Co. with operations in eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania is no Grinch.

The company, one of the largest privately held drilling companies, has given a $100,000 bonus to each of its nearly 1,400 employees.

That was done because the firm had reached three major benchmarks in the last five years.

The bonus was pro-rated based on whether the employee was with the firm for the last five years.

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Fracking linked to 4.6 earthquake in British Columbia

By Bob Downing Published: December 21, 2015

A British Columbia agency last week said that hydraulic fracturing was responsible for a 4.6 magnitude earthquake last summer in the province.

The quake, the largest of its kind in British Columbia, was linked to fluid injection during hydraulic fracturing or fracking by the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission.

More and bigger was how one official described the drilling efforts.

Click  here  to read more from The Globe and Mail.

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Tallgrass subsidiary closes on $75 million Colo. water system

By Bob Downing Published: December 21, 2015

A subsidairy of Kansas-based Tallgrass Energy Partners LP has closed on the $75 million acquisition of Whiting Oil and Gas Corp.'s Redtail Saltwater Disposal and Freshwater Transport and Storage System in Weld County, Colo.

Click  here  to read more.

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Pennsylvania fines CNX Gas $450,750 for water violations

By Bob Downing Published: December 21, 2015

From a press release last week from the state of Pennsylvania:

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Ontario board approved two gas contracts for Nexus Pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: December 18, 2015

Two customers of the proposed Nexus Pipeline have won Canadian provincial approval to transport natural gas from Ohio to Ontario,
Texas-based Spectra Energy Corp. on Friday announced that the Ontario Energy Board has approved applications from Union Gas Ltd. and Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc. for 15-year contracts. They want to move natural gas from the Appalachian Basin into the Dawn Hub in Ontario via the Nexus Pipeline, beginning in November 2017.
The approval from the Ontario Energy Board is another key regulatory step for the $2 billion pipeline, its developers and its gas customers.
In late November, the board’s staff had recommended non-approval of the two natural gas contracts as overly costly and unnecessary. The energy board did not agree.
The 255-mile pipeline would run from Columbiana County in eastern Ohio through the Akron-Canton area to Defiance in northwest Ohio. It would then run north toward the Detroit area and connect with existing pipelines that could carry the natural gas from the Utica and Marcellus shales to the Midwest, the Gulf Coast and Ontario.
The pipeline will be able to transport up to 1.5 billion cubic feet per day, enough to heat about 6 million houses. It would be 36 inches in diameter and buried about 3 feet deep.
The pipeline is a joint venture between Spectra Energy and Michigan-based DTE Energy. Union Gas is a subsidiary of Spectra Energy.
“The Nexus project represents a tremendous opportunity for customers to access natural gas from both the Utica and Marcellus shale plays and move it through markets in Ohio and Michigan to the Dawn Hub,” said Bill Yardley, president of U.S. Transmission and Storage for Spectra Energy. “These approvals confirm strong, long-term market support for our route and the project…by these local distribution companies in Ontario.”
Establishing a direct transportation link between Ontario and the Appalachian Basin will provide low-cost gas to Ontario, Spectra Energy said in its release.
In addition, the Nexus Pipeline will provide increased natural gas supply diversity, security and reliability to other customers in Ohio, Michigan and Chicago, the company said.
The pipeline must be approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. It is expected to rule on the pipeline in late 2016.
The pipeline would run through northern Stark, southern Summit, the northeast corner of Wayne and across Medina County.
The city of Green and a grass-roots group, the Coalition to Reroute Nexus, have urged that the pipeline be routed south of the Akron-Canton-Medina area in more rural southern Stark and Wayne counties. That proposal, which affect 103 miles of pipeline, has not been endorsed by the Nexus Gas Transmission LLC.
The company hopes to begin construction in January 2017.
Anti-pipeline landowners in Summit and Medina counties have prevented the company from conducting surveys along the pipeline route. That issue is tied up in continuing court fights. Access in other Ohio counties has been resolved in court.

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FERC approves new LNG facility in Lake Charles, La.

By Bob Downing Published: December 18, 2015

A proposed LNG facility in Lake Charles, La., has won approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Click  here  to read more.

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Gastar Exploration closes on $42.1 million Oklahoma deal

By Bob Downing Published: December 18, 2015

From a press release:

HOUSTON, Dec. 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Gastar Exploration Inc. (NYSE MKT: GST) ("Gastar" or the "Company") today announced the closing of its previously announced acquisition of additional interests in its Area of Mutual Interest ("AMI") from its AMI co-participant, Husky Ventures, Inc. ("Husky"), and certain other parties (collectively "Sellers").  The acquisition included working and net revenue interests in 103 gross (10.2 net) producing wells and approximately 15,700 net developed and undeveloped acres in Kingfisher and Garfield Counties, Oklahoma within the STACK play and Hunton Limestone formations.  The purchase price of approximately $42.1 million, with an effective date of July 1, 2015, was funded with borrowings under Gastar's revolving credit facility.  Gastar also conveyed approximately 11,000 net non-core, non-producing acres in Blaine and Major Counties, Oklahoma to the Sellers.  With the closing of the transaction, the AMI participation agreements with Gastar's AMI co-participant have been dissolved.  As a part of the agreements underlying the acquisition, Gastar and Husky filed dismissals of a legal proceeding that Gastar had filed against Husky and a separate legal proceeding that Husky had filed against certain officers and directors of Gastar. 

The Company also announced the results of the Deep River 30-1H well, its first operated test of the STACK formation Meramec Shale in Oklahoma.  The well commenced flow back on October 28th and has been gradually increasing oil and gas production to a recent initial peak 24-hour rate of 1,094 Boe per day (71% oil) and 1,549 barrels of completion fluids recovered per day.  The Deep River 30-1H was producing at a most recent 10-day average oil and natural gas rate of 1,042 Boe per day (71% oil) and an average of 1,364 barrels of completion fluids per day.  Gastar has a 100% working (80% net revenue) interest in the well.  This Meramec Shale test well, located in Kingfisher County, was completed with 34 frack stages, placing approximately 12 million pounds of proppant in an approximate 5,100 foot lateral, for a total cost of $6.4 million.  We expect that our future wells targeting the Meramec Shale, assuming a 5,000 foot lateral length, should cost approximately $5.5 million to drill and complete.  

"Our Deep River Meramec test well is an important success and moves the productive outline of the Meramec play much further northeast than previously defined," said J. Russell Porter, Gastar's President and CEO.  "It is also worth noting that the percentage of oil in our area is much higher than the production associated with acreage that has been involved in industry transactions recently completed at very high valuations.  Plus, the robust gas production shows that our acreage has good reservoir pressure to drive high oil production volumes and increase reserve recovery. This should allow future drilling of the Meramec play to generate both positive cash flow and strong returns on our investment, even at current commodity prices." 

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IPAA welcomes Senate vote on lifting crude export ban

By Bob Downing Published: December 18, 2015

From a Friday press release:

IPAA Welcomes Senate Passage of Bill that Lifts the Crude Oil Exports Ban

 

WASHINGTON, D.C.– Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) President and CEO Barry Russell thanked the U.S. Senate for passing with a bipartisan vote of 65-33 legislation that sets federal spending levels for the Fiscal Year 2016, which includes a provision that lifts the outdated trade restrictions on U.S. crude oil exports. This is a priority for America’s independent producers who drill 95 percent of the nation’s oil and natural gas wells and produce the majority of America’s crude oil.

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Ontario board approves two contracts tied to Nexus Pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: December 18, 2015

From  a Friday press release:

December 18, 2015

HOUSTON – Spectra Energy Corp (NYSE: SE) today announced that the Ontario Energy Board has approved applications from Union Gas Limited and Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc. for 15-year contracts to move natural gas from the Appalachian Basin into the Union Gas Dawn Hub on the proposed NEXUS Gas Transmission system beginning in November 2017.

“The NEXUS project represents a tremendous opportunity for customers to access natural gas from both the Utica and Marcellus shale plays and move it through markets in Ohio and Michigan to the Dawn Hub, the second largest physically traded gas hub in North America,” said Bill Yardley, president of U.S. Transmission and Storage for Spectra Energy. “These approvals confirm strong, long-term market support for our route and the project from demand-pull markets represented by these local distribution companies in Ontario.”

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FERC approves index to calculate changes to rate ceilings

By Bob Downing Published: December 18, 2015

From a Thursday press release from FERC:

FERC Establishes New Five-Year Oil Pipeline Index Level

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) today established a new index level to calculate annual changes for interstate oil pipeline rate ceilings for 2016 through 2021.

After concluding its fourth five-year review of the index established in Order No. 561, FERC set the new index level of Producer Price Index for Finished Goods plus 1.23 percent (PPI-FG+1.23) for the five-year period beginning July 1, 2016. The current index level is PPI-FG+2.65.

The Commission’s adoption of an index level of PPI-FG+1.23 reflects its review of the Page 700 data found in FERC Form No. 6 Annual Report of Oil Pipeline Companies and the comments submitted following the June 30, 2015, Notice of Inquiry. FERC concluded the Page 700 data more accurately measure changes in oil pipeline costs than the Form No. 6 accounting data used by the Commission in prior five-year reviews.

R-16-07

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Pennsylvania finds no radioactive danger in Tenmile Creek

By Bob Downing Published: December 18, 2015

From a Thursday press release:

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API chief thanks House members for lifting crude export ban

By Bob Downing Published: December 18, 2015

From a Friday press release:

American Petroleum Institute President and CEO Jack Gerard thanked House members who voted to end the 40 year old crude oil export ban.

"Today was a big win for the American people that made history with a strong bipartisan vote. House lawmakers showed leadership by strengthening our nation's energy future," said Gerard. "We now look to the Senate to follow suit. Lifting the crude export ban will lead to job creation, economic growth, improved balance of trade, and help keep downward pressure on gasoline prices for consumers.

"The U.S. is now the world's largest producer of oil and natural gas, and Americans are enjoying an energy renaissance that has produced abundant supplies of domestic energy resources.

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Petroleum deliveries grew by 1.2 percent in November

By Bob Downing Published: December 17, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute today:

File Type: pdf | File Size: 443232

File Type: pdf | File Size: 343665

File Type: pdf | File Size: 17557

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USGS boosts estimates of Barnett Shale natural gas, liquids

By Bob Downing Published: December 17, 2015

From the U.S. Geological Survey today:

USGS Estimates 53 Trillion Cubic Feet of Gas Resources in Barnett Shale

Posted: 17 Dec 2015 07:00 AM PST

Contact Information:

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Environment America knocks lifting crude oil export ban

By Bob Downing Published: December 16, 2015

From a press release today from Environment America:

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Cheniere Energy ousts CEO Souki, Icahn pleased with action

By Bob Downing Published: December 16, 2015

Houston-based Cheniere Energy Inc. CEO Charif Souki is stepping down, and activist investor Carl Icahn is pleased, according to news reports from earlier this week.

The company, a key player in developing LNG terminals on the Gulf Coast, named XXX Shear as the interim CEO.

Click  here  to read more from the Houston Chronicle.

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OSHA proposes stricter exposure limits on crystalline silica

By Bob Downing Published: December 16, 2015

Dust in the workplace — including drilling for natural gas and liquids in the Utica and Marcellus shales — has proven a tough issue to regulate.

But a final revised rule could come as soon as February, one that would cut the allowable exposure of crystalline silica, the most common type of industrial sand, despite strong resistance from the construction industry.

The government has classified crystalline silica as a human lung carcinogen that can cause silicosis, a pulmonary disease that can be fatal.

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed lowering the dust standard to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, down from the current standard of 100 micrograms per cubic meter of air for general industry and 250 micrograms for construction sites and shipyards.

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FERC declines to conduct review of Va., W. Va. pipelines

By Bob Downing Published: December 16, 2015

From the Associated Press last week:

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) -- Federal regulators have rejected a request to assess the overall environmental impact of several proposed multistate natural gas pipelines.

A coalition of pipeline opponents had sought the review. They argued that individual assessments would be piecemeal and conducted in a vacuum.

The Roanoke Times reports that Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chairman Norman Bay informed U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte of the commission's decision in a recent letter. Bay said it wouldn't be appropriate to prepare an environmental impact statement for the Mountain Valley Pipeline that would consider other pipeline projects affecting Virginia and West Virginia.

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Energy Transfer, Williams sign timing agreement with FTC

By Bob Downing Published: December 16, 2015

From a Monday press release:

Energy Transfer Equity L.P.  and The Williams Companies, Inc. announced today that they have entered into an agreement (the “Timing Agreement”) with the staff of the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) in connection with Energy Transfer Corp LP’s proposed acquisition of WMB.

As previously disclosed in Energy Transfer Corp LP’s registration statement on Form S-4 filed on November 24, 2015 with the Securities and Exchange Commission, ETE and WMB received a request for additional information and documentary material (the “Second Requests”) from the FTC pursuant to the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended (the “HSR Act”).

ETE and WMB are targeting compliance with the Second Requests in January 2016.

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Sabine Pass LNG plant reportedly taking in initial natural gas

By Bob Downing Published: December 16, 2015

Louisiana's Sabine Pass LNG facility began taking in natural gas on Dec. 10, according to Genscape.

The LNG facility at Cameron, La., near the Louisiana-Texas border is being developed by Cheniere Energy Inc.

It will be the first LNG facility to begin operations in the United States with six plants or trains to take natural gas from the Utica and Marcellus shales plus other formations and turn it into LNG for export.

It is not clear when the plant's first shipment will be ready to depart.

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Magnum Hunter has 35 operating wells in Ohio, W. Va.

By Bob Downing Published: December 16, 2015

Magnum Hunter Resources Corp., the Rexas-based company that has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protetion, has 461,000 acres in the Appalachian Basin.

That includes 79,000 acres in the Macrellus Shale and 99,000 acres in the Utica Shale, the company says.

It has drilled 35 wells with three more awaiting completion. That includes 14 wells in Tyler County, W. Va., 18 in Wetzel County, W. Va., and three in Ohio's Monroe County, the company says.

It says eight additional wells are being completed, two are to be drilled out, three have been drilled and are awaiting completion and two are being drilled.

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Eureka Hunter Pipeline records Dec. 1 transport record

By Bob Downing Published: December 16, 2015

From a Monday press release:

IRVING, TX -- (Marketwired) -- 12/14/15 -- Magnum Hunter Resources Corporation (OTC PINK: MHRC) ("Magnum Hunter" or the "Company") announced today that throughput volumes on Eureka Hunter Pipeline, LLC's gas gathering pipeline system located in West Virginia and Ohio reached a new record high throughput volume of approximately 835,000 MMBtu per day on the first of December. Magnum Hunter owns a substantial equity interest in Eureka Hunter Pipeline, LLC ("Eureka Hunter") of approximately 45 percent. Eureka Hunter's current throughput volumes represent an approximate 16% increase from reported volumes in July 2015.

Magnum Hunter Management Comments

Mr. Gary C. Evans, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Magnum Hunter and Eureka Hunter commented, "These new record throughput volumes on the Eureka Hunter pipeline system, during this period of unprecedented declines in overall drilling activity due to extremely low commodity prices, are a testimony to the resource value not only of this region, but what has been created by the hard work of our management team over the past couple of years. The results from the combination of new interconnects with other pipelines, operational superiority, and exceptional service to existing customers, have allowed for this substantial growth being experienced at Eureka Hunter to continue."

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Halliburton, Baker Hughes extending merger closure

By Bob Downing Published: December 16, 2015

From a Tuesday press release:

Halliburton and Baker Hughes Provide Update Regarding DOJ Review

Halliburton and Baker Hughes Extend the Time Period for Closing the Transaction to No Later than April 30, 2016, as Permitted under the Merger Agreement

HOUSTON – December 15, 2015 – Halliburton Company (NYSE: HAL) and Baker Hughes Incorporated (NYSE: BHI) today announced that they expect that their timing agreement with the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) will expire without reaching a settlement or the DOJ initiating litigation at this time to block their pending transaction. The DOJ has informed the companies that it does not believe that the remedies offered to date are sufficient to address the DOJ’s concerns, but acknowledged that they would assess further proposals and look forward to continued cooperation from the parties in their continuing investigation.

Halliburton and Baker Hughes believe that the proposed merger is good for the industry and customers. The merger is expected to create a strong company and achieve substantial efficiencies enabling it to compete aggressively to provide efficient, innovative and low-cost services. Completion of the transaction would allow customers to operate more cost-effectively, which is increasingly important due to the current state of the energy industry and oil and gas prices.

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Ohio has 1,658 drilled Utica wells, 1,119 producing Utica wells

By Bob Downing Published: December 16, 2015

Ohio has approved 2,097 Utica Shale permits, as of Dec. 12.

That includes 1,658 drilled Utica wells and 1,119 producing Utica wells, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Ohio has 16 rigs at work, down from a oeak of 59 a year ago.

Three new permits were approved: one in Belmont County, one on Jefferson County and one in Noble County.

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IPAA applauds funding language to lift crude export ban

By Bob Downing Published: December 16, 2015

From a press release today:

 

 

WASHINGTON, D.C.– Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) President Barry Russell issued the following statement on welcoming language in the federal government funding bill that lifts the ban on U.S. crude oil exports:

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Manufacturers hail lifting ban on exporting crude oil

By Bob Downing Published: December 16, 2015

From a press release today:

Manufacturers Hail Trade Provisions in Spending Bill

Lifting the Ban on Crude Oil Exports and COOL Repeal Essential to Manufacturing Growth

Washington, D.C., December 16, 2015 National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Vice President of International Economic Affairs Linda Dempsey released the following statement after Congress released details of its spending bill:

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U.S. chemical industry grows by 3.6 percent in 2015

By Bob Downing Published: December 16, 2015

From a press release today:

WASHINGTON, Dec. 16, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The business of American chemistry expanded 3.6 percent in 2015 despite global headwinds that included a strong appreciation of the U.S. dollar and a weakness in several key global markets.

"The U.S. chemical industry renaissance is just getting started," said Kevin Swift, chief economist of the American Chemistry Council (ACC) and lead author of the trade group's "Year-End 2015 Chemical Industry Situation and Outlook," published today. "The fundamentals are strong," he added. "Key domestic end-use markets expanded, consumer spending accelerated, the job market began to firm, and households enjoyed extra savings from lower energy costs."

Swift pointed to light vehicle sales, up 5 percent in 2015, and housing starts, up 12 percent in 2015, as two large, end-use markets that enjoyed banner years. Each light vehicle contains approximately $3,500 worth of chemistry, and each new home approximately $15,000 worth of chemistry products.

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Magnum Hunter Resources files for bankruptcy protection

By Bob Downing Published: December 15, 2015

A Texas-based company active on Ohio’s Utica Shale has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Magnum Hunter Resources Corp., a processing and transportation firm, filed its request on Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the state of Delaware.
It cited debts of $1.1 billion and outlined a prearranged restructuring plan that has support from company debtors.
Company officials said the firm hopes to emerge from Chapter 11 protection next April.  
Gary C. Evans, Magnum Hunter’s chairman and CEO, said, “With the unified support of our various lenders, we anticipate this restructuring will be a success and unprecedented in our industry.”
The company has leased about 200,000 acres in the Utica and Marcellus shales in Ohio and surrounding states.
Its Triad Hunter LLC subsidiary has drilled 12 wells in Ohio: nine in Monroe County and three in Washington County.
Of those wells, only six are producing oil or natural gas, state officials said. The other six wells may be dormant or waiting for pipelines. The company has also drilled Utica wells in northern West Virginia.
Magnum Hunter Resources is the first Utica company to seek federal bankruptcy protection, although about 20 drillers, mostly based in Texas, have filed this year due to continued low commodity prices for oil and natural gas.
The filing affects the Magnum Hunter parent company and certain of its wholly-owned subsidiaries. Eureka Hunter is not part of the bankruptcy filing.

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IPAA says new federal rules threaten energy development

By Bob Downing Published: December 15, 2015

From a press release today:

U.S. Oil, Gas Producers: Proposed Onshore Rulemakings Threaten America’s Energy Momentum

 

WASHINGTON, D.C.– In its formal comments filed Monday evening, the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) urged the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to reconsider its approach and work with the industry on its proposed rules to update, replace, and codify three of its Onshore Oil and Gas Orders. Businesses and industry groups are concerned that BLM’s proposed rules would result in substantial changes to the way U.S. onshore oil and gas operations are conducted and would lead to significant increases in the costs and burdens to responsibly oil and natural gas development on federal and tribal lands. IPAA joined in submitting formal comments with the American Petroleum Institute (API) and Western Energy Alliance.

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Fracking produces toxic metal wastewater, study says

By Bob Downing Published: December 15, 2015

From a press release today:

Fracking Plays Active Role in Generating Toxic Metal Wastewater From Marcellus Shale, Dartmouth Study Finds

 

HANOVER, N.H. – Dec. 15, 2015 – The production of hazardous wastewater in hydraulic fracturing is assumed to be partly due to chemicals introduced into injected freshwater when it mixes with highly saline brine naturally present in the rock. But a Dartmouth study investigating the toxic metal barium in fracking wastewater finds that chemical reactions between injected freshwater and the fractured shale itself could play a major role.

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Mild winter temperatures have cut into natural gas sales

By Bob Downing Published: December 15, 2015

From the Associated Press:

NEW YORK (AP) — Mild temperatures have cooled demand for natural gas, sending its price down sharply Monday. Stocks of companies that produce natural gas also fell.

Natural gas is used to heat more than half of U.S. households, according to the American Petroleum Institute. But with unseasonably warm temperatures, there’s less demand for it. Temperatures in Chicago, Detroit, New York and Washington have been as much as 25 degrees above normal in the past five days, according to AccuWeather. And the weather forecasting company expects the mild weather to continue next week, with temperatures expected to be between 20 and 30 degrees above normal.

Besides warm weather, there’s also an oversupply of natural gas that pushing prices down. Raymond James analysts said last week, in a note to clients, that they expected natural gas prices to remain “depressed” into next year due to the oversupply.

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Republicans push to end crude oil export ban in budget bill

By Bob Downing Published: December 15, 2015

From the Associated Press on Monday:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican demands to end the ban on exporting crude oil emerged as a final negotiating point Monday as lawmakers scrambled to complete a year-end spending bill needed to keep the government running.

In return for lifting the 4-decade-old ban, Democrats were seeking various environmental concessions, including permanently extending tax credits for solar and wind energy production and reviving an environmental conservation fund. Democrats also were trying to block GOP efforts to roll back Obama administration environmental regulations, with Democratic lawmakers who traveled to the Paris climate talks returning energized to fight harder on such issues.

“There’s been just a tremendous amount of Democrat pushback on all of the environmental provisions and other provisions too just across the board,” Republican Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota said in a phone interview.

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Ohio Supreme Court to look into oil-gas drilling leases

By Bob Downing Published: December 14, 2015

The Ohio Supreme court will hear arguments this week on whether property owners can be locked into oil and gas leases even if no drilling is taking place – and they never get any royalties, says WKSU-FM.

WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on the case that involves millions of dollars and hundreds of property owners.

Click  here  to read more.

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Woods named president of ExxonMobil Corp, effective Jan. 1

By Bob Downing Published: December 14, 2015

From a Friday press release:

Darren W. Woods has been elected president of ExxonMobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) and a member of the board of directors, effective Jan. 1, 2016.

The election of Woods, who is currently senior vice president of the corporation, was made during a meeting of the ExxonMobil board of directors on Wednesday.

Rex W. Tillerson, 63, continues his position of chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the corporation.

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API: SEC rule would hurt U.S. oil, natural gas competitiveness

By Bob Downing Published: December 14, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute on Friday:

WASHINGTON, December 11, 2015 – A proposed rule on disclosure requirements for America’s oil and natural gas industry released today by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission could harm U.S. competitiveness while possibly weakening a decade-old effort to implement payment transparency programs worldwide, according to API.

“The oil and natural gas industry strongly supports payment transparency to help citizens hold their governments accountable for how natural resource revenues are spent,” said Stephen Comstock, API director of tax and accounting policy.  “Our industry has been working hard to increase transparency for more than a decade, but this rule could interfere with ongoing efforts by making U.S. firms less competitive against state-owned firms not covered by this rule.” 

Comstock said the industry has been working globally since 2003 to implement the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, a program that has now been implemented in 49 countries and promotes good governance and transparency through collaboration between national governments, civil society and national industry players.

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U,S. senator supports SEC rule for oil, mining industries

By Bob Downing Published: December 14, 2015

From a Friday press release:

Cardin Statement on SEC Proposed Rule for Oil and Mining Industries

 

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement on the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announcement of a proposed rule that would require resource extraction issuers to disclose payments made to the U.S. federal government or foreign governments for the purpose of commercially developing oil, natural gas or minerals. Senator Cardin, along with former SFRC Ranking Member Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), authored the Cardin-Lugar provision in Section 1504 of Dodd-Frank to bring transparency and accountability to the extractive industries. Congressional intent was to lessen the risk forU.S investors and provide additional information so that citizens in resource-rich countries can hold their leaders accountable. America led the international community in promoting transparency in the extractive industry by adopting Cardin-Lugar but delays by the SEC and a spurious court challenge by the oil and gas industry have allowed other countries to surpass us.

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Warren Resources offers updates on restructuring efforts

By Bob Downing Published: December 14, 2015

From a press release today:

DENVER, Dec. 14, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Warren Resources, Inc. (“Warren” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ:WRES) today announced an update on corporate restructuring initiatives following the recent appointments of James A. Watt as President and Chief Executive Officer and Frank T. Smith, Jr. as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.  

The Company is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. John R. Powers as Vice President - Accounting effective today.  The appointment of Mr. Powers completes the finance management team, which, coupled with the Company’s operating executive personnel in Denver, California and Dallas, will provide the core management of the Company on a go forward basis. 

John R. Powers, 60, was Vice-President and Chief Accounting Officer for Dune Energy, Inc. from July of 2007 until September of 2015.  From March of 1999 until May of 2005 he was Operation Manager, Southwest Wholesale.  He was Special Projects Coordinator, Citation Oil and Gas Corporation from April of 1996 until June of 1998.  From April of 1987 until March of 1996 he served as Accounting Consultant, Citation Oil and Gas Corporation.  He was Accounting Consultant for Black Stone Oil Company from April of 1985 until May of 1987.  From June of 1978 until August of 1984 he was an Audit Manager for Author Young & Company.  He received a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Finance from the University of Texas in 1975 and a Masters of Science in Accountancy from the University of Houston in 1978.

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EIA adds four countries to global shale resource assessment

By Bob Downing Published: December 14, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

EIA continues to expand its assessment of technically recoverable shale oil and shale natural gas resources around the world. The addition of four countries—Chad, Kazakhstan, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)—to a previous assessment covering 42 countries has resulted in a 13% increase in the global assessed total resource estimate for shale oil and a 4% increase for shale gas.

Read More ›

Tags: international , natural gas , oil/petroleum , resources , shale

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Ohio is poised to set new records in 2015 for injection wells

By Bob Downing Published: December 11, 2015

Ohio is on track to end 2015 with a record volume of drilling wastes going into the state’s injection wells.
Through nine months, Ohio’s 211 injection wells have taken in 20.0 million barrels of wastes, according to activist Teresa Mills of the Buckeye Forest Council who compiled the data from Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ records.
That’s enough to fill 1,275 Olympic-sized swimming pools, the forest group said.
That compares to 22.0 million barrels injected in all of 2014 and 16.3 million barrels for all of 2013.
Ohio has already accepted 9.7 million barrels of liquid wastes from Ohio drillers in 2015.
That compares to 10.7 million barrels in 2014 and 8.1 million barrels in 2013.
Ohio has also accepted 10.2 million barrels from out-of-state drillers, mostly in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
In 2014, Ohio accepted 11.2 million barrels from out-of-state sources. It also took in 8.2 million barrels in 2013.
Ohio can do little to block out-of-state wastes because they are protected as interstate commerce by the U.S. Constitution.
Coshocton County was No. 1 in Ohio in 2014 volumes. It was followed by Athens, Trumbull, Portage and Muskingum counties. Stark County was No. 10.
Ohio activists say they are troubled by the growing volume and the growing number of injection wells in Ohio. They are concerned such wells have triggered small earthquakes in Ohio and in other drilling states. Injection wells also threaten groundwater, they say.
Industry and state officials say injection wells are a safe disposal method and the growing volume of waste is simply evidence of the Utica and Marcellus shale booms in Ohio and surrounding states.

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Spanish energy firm Repsol tops Platts awards in 2015

By Bob Downing Published: December 11, 2015

From an announcement:

Event photos are online here: http://platts.smugmug.com

Energy Company of the Year
Repsol

CEO of the Year
Nishi Vasudeva, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd.

Lifetime Achievement
Terry Boston, PJM Interconnection

Strategic Deal of the Year
Dynegy

Financial Deal of the Year
Apex Clean Energy; First Reserve; Gulf Power Company; Morgan Stanley Commodities Group Inc.

Industry Leader Award Downstream
Repsol

Industry Leader Award Midstream
Williams

Industry Leader Award Exploration & Production
Anadarko Petroleum Corporation

Industry Leader Award Biofuels
Honeywell UOP LLC

Industry Leader Award Power
Bruce Power

Grid Edge Award - Energy Management
REstore

Construction Project of the Year
Yanbu Aramco Sinopec Refining Company (YASREF)

Engineering Project of the Year
Royal Dutch Shell

Rising Star Award Company
SolarReserve

Rising Star Award Individual
Maria Victoria Zingoni, Repsol

Corporate Social Responsibility Award
Reliance Industries Ltd.

Commercial Application of the Year
Caterpillar Inc.

Breakthrough Solution of the Year
Algenol
 

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Statoil, Repsol announces deals in U.S., three other countries

By Bob Downing Published: December 11, 2015

From Statoil:

Alfa Sentral is a gas and condensate field planned to be developed as a tie-back to the existing infrastructure for Sleipner on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.
(Photo: Harald Pettersen)

John Knight, Statoil’s Executive Vice-President for Global Strategy & Business Development.
(Photo: Asle Haukland - AP - Statoil)

“We are delighted to be deepening our relationship with Repsol. In the current challenging market environment, these are innovative, value-enhancing transactions which will help control costs and strengthen Statoil’s portfolio for the long term”, said John Knight, Statoil’s Executive Vice-President for Global Strategy & Business Development.

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ECP's continued ownership of Summit Investments is best plan

By Bob Downing Published: December 11, 2015

From a press release today:

Summit Investments Announces Conclusion of
Energy Capital Partners Review of Strategic Alternatives


 ECP has finalized its formal review and concluded that its continued ownership in Summit
Investments is the most attractive option for enhancing the value of its investment in Summit
Investments and SMLP
 Summit Investments will provide support to SMLP to execute drop-downs in a manner that is
expected to eliminate any need for equity issuance in 2016
 ECP authorizes Summit Investments to initiate a program to acquire up to $100 million of SMLP units
via open market purchases
 SMLP reaffirms financial guidance for fiscal year 2015

The Woodlands, Texas (December 11, 2015) – Summit Midstream Partners, LLC (“Summit Investments”) and
Summit Midstream Partners, LP (NYSE: SMLP) announced today that Energy Capital Partners (“ECP”), the private
equity firm that controls Summit Investments, has concluded its previously announced strategic review process
regarding Summit Investments. ECP has determined that continuing its ownership and pursuing a course of action
that includes, but is not limited to, continuing to offer to drop down assets at Summit Investments to SMLP is
presently the best way to enhance the value of ECP’s investment in Summit Investments and SMLP.
Summit Investments is expected to provide support to SMLP to facilitate a drop-down strategy such that SMLP will
not need to issue equity to finance the purchase of drop-down assets in 2016. Summit Investments continues to
evaluate specific drop-down alternatives including, among other things, materially accelerating the timing of Summit
Investments’ previously announced plan to execute $400.0 million to $800.0 million of drop-down transactions each
year through 2017. Summit Investments has had preliminary discussions with the Conflicts Committee of SMLP’s
general partner concerning the evaluation of Summit Investments’ portfolio of midstream assets in the context of a
potential offer for SMLP to acquire all, or a portion of, such assets as early as the first quarter of 2016. Neither the
board of managers of Summit Investments nor ECP has made a formal proposal to SMLP with respect to such a
transaction, nor can there be any assurance that such a transaction will be proposed or consummated.
Furthermore, ECP has approved a unit purchase program at Summit Investments of up to $100 million of common
units of SMLP (the “Purchase Program”), demonstrating ECP’s continued confidence in the near term and long term
outlook for SMLP. Unit purchases are expected to commence as early as December 14, 2015. Units may be
purchased under the Purchase Program in open market transactions, in privately negotiated transactions, or
otherwise. The Purchase Program does not require Summit Investments to purchase a specific number of units.
There can be no assurance that Summit Investments will purchase any units under the Purchase Program, and unit
purchases, if any, made under the Purchase Program will not impact the total number of units outstanding.
Doug Kimmelman, ECP’s Senior Partner commented, “What began in the second quarter of 2015 as a process to
evaluate strategic alternatives to enhance the value of ECP’s investment in Summit Investments and SMLP is now
complete. Summit Investments’ ownership of approximately 30 million SMLP units and 100% of the incentive
distribution rights provides ECP with a powerful economic incentive to drop down assets from Summit Investments
to SMLP on an accretive basis to facilitate future distribution growth. Our goal is to structure drop downs in a
manner that eliminates the equity capital market risk in 2016 for SMLP, strengthens growth and coverage of SMLP,
and improves the long term credit profile of the partnership.
We feel strongly that SMLP’s current unit price undervalues the future distribution potential of SMLP. In light of this
belief, ECP has authorized an additional $100 million investment into Summit Investments to be used to institute a
program to acquire SMLP units, including open market purchases, as market conditions and other factors permit
from time to time.”
Steve Newby, President and CEO of Summit Investments commented, “After careful consideration with ECP of all
alternatives available to Summit Investments, we agree with ECP that the value creation available to SMLP
unitholders and their investment in Summit Investments is best realized by continuing the drop down of our
2
significant and attractive asset base at Summit Investments. We look forward to working with ECP and the board
of SMLP’s general partner during 2016 to transform SMLP from a drop down story to an organic growth story
through the contribution of assets that are located in some of the highest growth basins in the country. We believe
the cash flow contribution and growth profile associated with these assets will significantly enhance EBITDA growth,
distribution coverage, and the credit p

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Mexican crude exports to Europe, Asia are rising

By Bob Downing Published: December 11, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administartion today:

In September 2015, monthly U.S. crude oil imports from Mexico totaled 0.6 million barrels per day (b/d), the lowest level since 1990, and a decrease of about 50% since January 2011. Meanwhile, Mexico's exports of heavy crude oil to Asia and light crude oil to Europe rose, according to data from Mexico's national oil company Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex).

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Tags: crude oil , Europe , exports , imports , international , liquid fuels , Mexico

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American pipelines can fuel economic boom, NAM says

By Bob Downing Published: December 10, 2015

From the National Association of Manufacturers today:

America’s Pipelines: Fueling the Manufacturing Economy

NAM Releases New Study Examining Benefits of Crude Oil Pipelines

Washington, D.C., December 10, 2015 – A new study from IHS Economics and commissioned by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) reveals the impact crude oil pipelines have on U.S. manufacturing growth and employment and the advancement and development potential for manufacturers if new crude oil pipelines are constructed to take advantage of the U.S. energy renaissance.

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Heating oil, propane prices are lower this winter, EIA says

By Bob Downing Published: December 10, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administartion today:

The U.S. Energy Information Administration's State Heating Oil and Propane Program (SHOPP) collects state-level residential heating oil and propane price data in 38 states during the winter heating season. SHOPP is a joint effort between EIA and state energy offices in regions (especially states in the Northeast and Midwest) where heating oil and propane are commonly used as heating fuels. In all of the states surveyed, propane and heating oil prices are lower than they were at this time last year, and EIA expects prices will remain at lower levels throughout the winter.

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Tags: consumption , heating oil , hydrocarbon gas liquids , liquid fuels , prices , propane , states , weather

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Companies ask that Oklahoma quake lawsuit be thrown out

By Bob Downing Published: December 10, 2015

From the Associated Press on Wednesday:

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Two energy companies are asking a judge to throw out a lawsuit by an Oklahoma woman who claims she was injured in an earthquake caused by the injection of wastewater deep into the ground — a method used for decades by the industry to dispose of the chemical-laced byproduct of oil and gas production.

The lawsuit by Prague resident Sandra Ladra alleges the companies are liable because they operated the wastewater disposal wells that triggered the largest earthquake in state history, a 5.6-magnitude temblor that hit in 2011. Ladra, who claims the quake crumbled her two-story fireplace and caused rocks to fall on her legs and gash her knee, is among others who have similar lawsuits pending across the country.

Lincoln County District Judge Cynthia Ferrell Ashwood is to hear the companies’ motion to dismiss Wednesday. Ladra is suing Spess Oil Co., in Cleveland, Oklahoma, Tulsa-based New Dominion LLC and 25 unnamed parties.

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Pennsylvania files lawsuit against Chesapeake Energy

By Bob Downing Published: December 10, 2015

State Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s office filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Chesapeake Energy for deceptive leasesy, seeking millions of dollars for Pennsylvanians who leased land to the company for fracking, reports NPR's StateImpact Pennsylvania.

The Oklahoma City-based driller is one of the most active in Pennsylvania. It was an early adopter of fracking and touts itself as the nation’s second largest producer of natural gas. It’s also been widely accused of unfair business practices– including using below-market gas prices, making improper deductions from royalty payments, and misreporting gas production data.

Kane spokesman Jeff Johnson says the lawsuit could affect more than 4,000 Pennsylvania landowners who signed leases with the company.

Click  here  to read more.

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Chesapeake to make 1.1 billion barrels of oil disappear

By Bob Downing Published: December 10, 2015

In an instant, Chesapeake Energy Corp. will erase the equivalent of 1.1 billion barrels of oil from its books, Bloomberg Business reports.

Across the American shale patch, companies are being forced to square their reported oil reserves with hard economic reality.

After lobbying for rules that let them claim their vast underground potential at the start of the boom, they must now acknowledge what their investors already know: many prospective wells would lose money with oil hovering below $40 a barrel.

Click  here  to read more.

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Saddlehorn extends signups for Colorado, Oklahoma pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: December 10, 2015

From a recent press release:

TULSA, Okla., HOUSTON, and THE WOODLANDS, Texas, Dec. 9, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Magellan Midstream Partners, L.P. (NYSE: MMP) ("Magellan"), Plains All American Pipeline, L.P. (NYSE: PAA) ("Plains") and Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (NYSE: APC) ("Anadarko") announced today that Saddlehorn Pipeline Company, LLC ("Saddlehorn") has launched a supplemental open season to seek additional transportation commitments for the Saddlehorn pipeline. Interested customers must submit binding commitments by 5:00 p.m. Central Time on Jan. 7, 2016.

The Saddlehorn pipeline, which is currently under construction, will be capable of transporting at least 190,000 barrels per day of crude oil from the DJ Basin, and potentially the broader Rocky Mountain area resource plays, to storage facilities in Cushing, Oklahoma owned by Magellan and Plains. The pipeline's Platteville, Colorado origin and Cushing destination will each include one million barrels of storage. The pipeline is also being extended from Platteville to Carr, Colorado.

The Platteville-to-Cushing segment of the pipeline is expected to be operational during mid-2016, and the Carr-to-Platteville segment is expected to be operational in the fourth quarter of 2016.

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OOGA looks at impacts of low oil, natural gas prices

By Bob Downing Published: December 10, 2015

The Ohio Oil and Gas Association has posted a blog story by Lyndsey Kleven on "The Ramifications of Low Oil and Natural Gas Prices."

Click  here  to read the blog post.

 

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Gulfport Energy provides $500,000 to Appalachian Ohio group

By Bob Downing Published: December 10, 2015

A recent press release from the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio:


Gulfport Energy Fund Celebrates the Work of Schools and Nonprofits at Grantee Dinner

Gulfport Energy President & CEO Mike Moore presents Cara Dingus Brook, president and CEO of the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio, with a $500,0000 gift to support the Gulfport Energy Fund and FAO’s work throughout the region. 

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Noble Energy boosting production, sales in 4Q 2015

By Bob Downing Published: December 9, 2015

From Noble Energy today:

Noble Energy, Inc. ("Noble Energy" or "the Company") (NYSE: NBL) today increased its fourth quarter 2015 sales volumes to range between 405 and 415 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day (MBoe/d), with the midpoint of the new estimate representing a 15 MBoe/d increase over the prior midpoint.  Actual volumes sold in October and November 2015 exceeded expectations due to improved completion practices in the Eagle Ford and DJ Basin, as well as the accelerated ramp-up and early performance of Big Bend and Dantzler in the Gulf of Mexico. Combined, the two deepwater fields have already achieved their targeted peak production rate of 20 MBoe/d, net to Noble Energy.  In addition, fourth quarter volumes in the Company's other U.S. Onshore, West Africa and Israel assets is consistent with to slightly better than prior expectations.    

Gary W. Willingham, the Company's Executive Vice President of Operations, commented, "We are finishing 2015 with tremendous operating momentum and performance across the business. The Company's 2015 capital budget remains unchanged and fourth quarter capital will be the lowest quarterly spend of the year.  We've positioned the company to operate within cash flow while still being able to deliver modest pro-forma annual volume growth in 2016."

Eagle Ford Well Performance Update

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New legislation impacts U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve

By Bob Downing Published: December 9, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administartion today:

Republished December 9, 2015, 10:00 a.m. to correct notation on graph.

Two recently enacted laws authorize significant sales of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) over the next decade. The Bipartisan Budget Act authorizes the sale of 58 million barrels of SPR oil between FY 2018-25 for deficit reduction purposes and an estimated 40-50 million barrels of oil in FY 2017-20 for SPR modernization. As part of the Bipartisan Budget Act, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is required to complete a long-term strategic review of the SPR to ensure it meets current and future energy and economic security goals and objectives. The Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act authorizes the sale of 66 million barrels of oil in FY 2023-25 to help support the Highway Trust Fund.

Read More ›

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Fire at Texas gas-processing plant finally extinguished

By Bob Downing Published: December 9, 2015

From the Associated Press on Tuesday:

ORLA, Texas (AP) — A fire that burned for days at a West Texas natural gas processing plant is out as investigators try to determine what sparked the blaze.

An Anadarko Petroleum Corporation official had no timeline Tuesday on when the Ramsey unit near Orla will reopen.

Two people were slightly hurt when fire broke out last Thursday at the plant a few miles south of the Texas-New Mexico line.

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Federal study says spills of Canadian tar sands pose risks

By Bob Downing Published: December 9, 2015

Heavy Canadian crude oil shipped via pipelines poses a special risk when spilled into waterways because it soon turns into a thick, hard-to-recover residue that doesn’t degrade and whose toxic effects are poorly understood, the National Academies of Sciences said in a research report  released on Tuesday.

The report for the U.S. Transportation Department recommended regulatory changes to speed cleanups of spilled heavy crude oil, to require disclosure of what oil pipelines carry and to conduct more research of human and ecological risks and other knowledge gaps.

The report concluds: “In light of the aforementioned analysis, comparisons, and review of the regulations, it is clear that the differences in the chemical and physical properties relevant to environmental impact warrant modifications to the regulations governing diluted bitumen spill response plans, preparedness, and cleanup.

Here’s reaction to the report from Jim Murphy, the National Wildlife Federation’s senior counsel: “This important study from the National Academy of Sciences confirms what the tragic spills in Michigan’s Kalamazoo River and Mayflower, Arkansas have already shown us: transporting heavy tar sands oil crude presents unique and unacceptable risks to wildlife and habitat. Our first responders and communities are not prepared for these unnecessary risks which this study confirms are different from those of regular oil. We need to better protect wildlife from the existing risks of heavy tar sands oil and not subject more resources to the risks of this dirty energy source.”

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Pennsylvania royalty settlement with Chesapeake growing

By Bob Downing Published: December 9, 2015

A Pennsylvania royalty settlement between Chesapeake Energy Corp. and unhappy leaseholders has grown to include 15,000 people and payment of $17 million.

The original settlement in August 2013 was to pay out $7 million.

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

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FERC seeks rerouting of Atlantic Coast Pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: December 9, 2015

The proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline may be rerouted through two national forests to minimize environmental impacts.

Making that request was the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that oversees interstate pipelines.

The pipeline would pass through the Monongahela and George Washinton national forests in West Virginia and Virginia.

Click  here  to read more.

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PetroNerds LLC marketing new monthly Tight Oil Tallies

By Bob Downing Published: December 9, 2015

From a Tuesday press release:

WASHINGTON, Dec. 8, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- PetroNerds, LLC announces the availability of their new product, Tight Oil Tallies, at PetroNerds.com. Tight Oil Tallies is a monthly report that provides critical production information for the top 50 shale and tight oil producers throughout the United States' six primary tight oil plays.  Subscriptions can be purchased at PetroNerds.com/subscribe/ at a promotional launch price of $2,388 per year, just $199 per issue.

"Tight Oil Tallies is the perfect resource for anyone with a stake in the oil patch performance of US shale oil companies, such as equity analysts, private equity investors, midstream companies, policymakers, and energy market analysts," said Ben Montalbano, co-founder of PetroNerds. "It is data rich yet cost effective and easily absorbed.  In the time it takes to read a single earnings call transcript, Tight Oil Tallies enables subscribers to catch up on the recent activity of 50 companies who, combined, produce nearly 5 million barrels per day of crude oil and condensate. Subscribers will be kept abreast of the latest liquids and associated gas production figures, well counts, well additions, IP rates, decline rates, active rig counts and much more, with play-by-play breakouts of each company's activity."

In all, each month's issue of Tight Oil Tallies encompasses nearly 200,000 wells and contains approximately 190 pages of facts, figures, and data. The 50 companies with the highest aggregate daily liquids production across the following six plays are tracked: The Williston Basin, which includes the Bakken shale, the Eagle Ford, the Permian Basin, the Denver-Julesburg Basin, the Anadarko Basin, and the Powder River Basin.  This includes companies such as EOG Resources, Continental Resources, Pioneer Natural Resources, and many more.

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Colorado Supreme Court to hear arguments on fracking bans

By Bob Downing Published: December 9, 2015

From a Tuesday press release from Earthjustice:

Colorado Supreme Court to Hear Arguments This Week on Local Fracking Bans

DENVER, CO — This Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, the Colorado Supreme Court will hear arguments on two challenges to municipal laws enacted by voters to limit hydraulic fracturing operations in their communities. The outcomes of these cases could have broad impacts in Colorado and across the nation on the ability of residents to participate in decisions regarding industrial drilling operations near their homes.

9 a.m.: the City of Longmont v. the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and TOP Operating Co.:

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Drilling rigs in Appalachian Basin drop from 132 to 64 in year

By Bob Downing Published: December 8, 2015

The number of drilling works working in the Appalachian Basin continues to drop.

A year ago, Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania had 132 rigs at work: 46 in Ohio, 55 in Pennsylvania and 31 in West Virginia, according to data from Baker Hughes, the well service com-pany that tracks rig counts.

Its Nov. 15 count shows 64 rigs in the Appalachian Basin: 20 in Ohio, 29 in Pennsylvania and 15 in West Virginia.

And the Ohio Department of Natural Resources reported this week that the number of rigs drilling in Ohio is down to 16.

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Velocys says pilot plant tests on gas to liquids were successful

By Bob Downing Published: December 8, 2015

From a recent press release from Veloocys, the company building a new natural gas-to-liquids plant in Ohio's Ashtabula County:

26th November 2015

Velocys plc (VLS.L), the company at the forefront of smaller scale gas-to-liquids (GTL), is pleased to announce the successful completion of pilot plant tests that demonstrate significant process intensification, increasing capacity and productivity and improving commercial plant economics.

The tests:

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New condensate splitter facility in Texas begins operations

By Bob Downing Published: December 8, 2015

From a Monday press release:

BUCKEYE PARTNERS, L.P. ANNOUNCES CONDENSATE SPLITTER
FACILITY IN SOUTH TEXAS IS COMMISSIONED AND GENERATING REVENUE


HOUSTON, December 7, 2015 — Buckeye Partners, L.P. (“Buckeye”) (NYSE: BPL) announced today that the 50,000 barrel per day condensate splitter facility at Buckeye Texas Partners LLC is commissioned and in commercial service under a long-term take-or-pay tolling agreement. “The completion of commissioning and start-up of our condensate splitters represents a significant milestone in the first phase of the expansion at our South Texas facilities,” stated Clark C. Smith, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “I would like to recognize the hard work and commitment of the Buckeye employees and contractors who worked tirelessly to complete this complex project safely and successfully. The completion of the condensate splitters and the liquid petroleum gas (“LPG”) refrigerated storage, as previously announced, represent substantial progress towards completion of Buckeye’s planned build-out of the South Texas assets.” In addition to the splitter capabilities, these facilities will offer five marine docks, over 6 million barrels of petroleum storage capacity with rail and truck loading/unloading capability and three field gathering facilities with pipeline connectivity to the condensate splitters and docks. All aspects of this expansion are fully contracted under long-term agreements with Trafigura Trading LLC. “These initiatives are the largest growth capital projects in Buckeye’s long history and are expected to contribute significant incremental cash flows. The completion of these splitting units further bolsters our South Texas assets as a leading export hub on the Gulf Coast, with the ability to aggregate, store, process and distribute many different petroleum products,” continued Mr. Smith.
About Buckeye Partners, L.P.
Buckeye Partners, L.P. (NYSE: BPL) is a publicly traded master limited partnership and owns and operates a diversified network of integrated assets providing midstream logistic solutions, primarily consisting of the transportation, storage, and marketing of liquid petroleum products. Buckeye is one of the largest independent liquid petroleum products pipeline operators in the United States in terms of volumes delivered with approximately 6,000 miles of pipeline and more than 120 liquid petroleum products terminals with aggregate storage capacity of over 110 million barrels across our portfolio of pipelines, inland terminals and an integrated network of marine terminals located primarily in the East Coast and Gulf Coast regions of the United States and in the Caribbean. Buckeye has a controlling interest in a company with a vertically integrated system of marine midstream assets in Corpus Christi and the Eagle Ford play in Texas. Buckeye’s flagship marine terminal, BORCO, is in The Bahamas and is one of the largest marine crude oil and refined petroleum products storage facilities in the world and provides an array of logistics and blending services for the global flow of petroleum products. Buckeye’s network of marine terminals enables it to facilitate global flows of crude oil, refined petroleum products, and other commodities, and to offer its customers connectivity to some of the world’s most important bulk storage and blending hubs. Buckeye is also a wholesale distributor of refined petroleum products in areas served by its pipelines and terminals. Finally, Buckeye also operates and/or maintains third-party pipelines under
agreements with major oil and gas, petrochemical and chemical companies, and performs certain engineering and construction management services for third parties. More information concerning Buckeye can be found at www.buckeye.com.
* * * * *

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EIA projects drops in oil, natural gas production from shale

By Bob Downing Published: December 8, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Monday:

Release Date:  December 7, 2015  |  Next Release: January 11, 2016  |  full report

 

 

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PDC Energy to spend $34 million on five Utica wells in 2016

By Bob Downing Published: December 8, 2015

From a press release:

DENVER, December 7, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- PDC Energy, Inc. ("PDC", the "Company", "we" or "us") (NASDAQ:PDCE) today reported its 2016 capital budget and production forecast.

2016 Highlights

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Ohio has 1,649 drilled Utica wells, 1,119 producing Utica wells

By Bob Downing Published: December 8, 2015

Ohio has approved 2,095 Utica Shale permits, as of Dec. 5.

That total includes 1,649 drilled Utica wells and 1,119 producing Utica wells, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said.

Ohio has 16 drilling rigs at work.

Fourteen new permits were approved: six in Belmont County, three in Carroll County and five in Monroe County.

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Oklahoma orders changes at injection wells to curtail quakes

By Bob Downing Published: December 8, 2015

Oklahoma has ordered 635 injection wells to reduce volumes and depths in the Arbuckle formation, in a new effort to reduce earthquakes associated with such injection wells, the Oklahoman newspaper reported.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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New LOLA Energy plans to drill in Marcellus, Utica shales

By Bob Downing Published: December 8, 2015

From a press release today:

 

LOLA Energy Announces Backing by Denham Capital

New Oil and Gas Company to Pursue Marcellus/Utica Opportunities following $250 Million Equity Commitment

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Warren County Power Station is gas-fired project of year

By Bob Downing Published: December 8, 2015

From a press release today:

Warren County Power Station Named Gas-Fired Project of the Year

- Facility began commercial operation Dec. 11, 2014

- One of the most clean and efficient power plants in the nation

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Largest, private CBG fueling station built in Detroit

By Bob Downing Published: December 7, 2015

California-based TruStar Energy reported on Friday that it has completed the largest private compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station in North America.

It was built in Detroit for FCA US LLC and will be uesd to fuel 179 tractor-trailers.

Click  here  to read more.

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U.S. drilling rig count drops by seven, Baker Hughes reports

By Bob Downing Published: December 7, 2015

There are 737 drilling rigs at work in the U.S., down seven the previous count, Baker Hughes reported on Friday.

That total has declined by 1,183 from a year ago.

Canada has 77 rigs at work, down seven from the previous count and down 245 from a year ago.

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EQT Corp. to drill 72 Marcellus, 5 to 10 Utica wells in 2016

By Bob Downing Published: December 7, 2015

Pittsburgh-based EQT Corp. said today in a new operational report that it plans to spend $820 million in 2016 to drill 72 Marcellus Shale wells and five to 10 Utica Shale wells.

Click  here  to read more.

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Energy use by federal agencies continues to drop

By Bob Downing Published: December 7, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

According to the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP), energy consumption by the U.S. federal government fell to 0.94 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) in fiscal year (FY) 2014, the lowest level since data collection began in FY 1975. Declines in jet fuel consumption by the U.S. Department of Defense accounted for most of the decrease in federal energy use. Several data series on federal government energy use now appear in EIA's Monthly Energy Review.

Read More ›

Tags: alternative fuel vehicle , buildings , consumption , energy

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Devon Energy announces $2.5 billion for two acquisitions

By Bob Downing Published: December 7, 2015

Oklahoma-based Devon Energy Corp. today announced two acquisitions.

It will spend $2.5 billion to acquire 333,000 acres in the Anadarko Basin and the Powder River Basin from two companies.

Click  here  to read the full press release.

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Judge throws out lawsuit challenging Nebraska pipeline law

By Bob Downing Published: December 7, 2015

From the Associated Press on Saturday:

OMAHA, Neb. — A judge has thrown out a lawsuit challenging a Nebraska law that allowed the Nebraska governor to approve the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline route through the state.

Holt County District Judge Mark Kozisek tossed the lawsuit on Friday, agreeing with the pipeline company’s argument that the issue was rendered moot by TransCanada’s decision to abandon plans to move forward on the project, the Omaha World-Herald reported.

That means the law will remain on Nebraska’s books, for now.

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City of Oberlin joins in fight against Nexus Pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: December 7, 2015

From a press release released on Sunday:

Oberlin hires Washington attorney to fight NEXUS Pipeline
Oberlin, OH - December 4, 2015 - The City Council of Oberlin voted unanimously Monday evening to enter the battle against the proposed NEXUS Gas Transmission pipeline now scheduled to cross through Oberlin north of Reserve Avenue.
The City’s two fold proposal would retain legal representation and join forces with other organizations opposed to the pipeline’s path.
With the leadership of Oberlin Law Director Jon Clark, the Council voted to retain the Law Offices of Carolyn Elefant, LLC, to assist and represent the City in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's review of the application for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity filed by NEXUS on November 20, 2015. The Law Director indicated that the cost would probably be $15,000-$20,000.
The City's intent is to join forces with other entities, including the Coalition to Reroute Nexus (CORN) and the City of Green, in urging FERC to reject the route NEXUS has submitted for its proposed pipeline and adopt a more southerly route.
“The alternative route, investigated and designed by the City of Green, would mean 70 percent fewer homes disrupted by the pipeline construction and more than 50 percent reduction in the interference with environmentally sensitive areas,” said Paul L. Gierosky, spokesperson for CORN. “We look forward to working diligently with Oberlin Council members in our goal to reroute Nexus,” he said.
The Reserve area in Oberlin is comprised of about 30 condominiums and more than
40 single family homes. About twenty lots remain unoccupied and three are
currently under construction. Reserve Avenue joins the Ramsey right-of-way, which
is owned by the City of Oberlin and the acreage recently acquired by the Western
Reserve Land Conservancy.
During the specially called Council meeting, Council members expressed concern
that the pipeline would be constructed 95 feet from the condos and homes’
property edges on Reserve Avenue. The pipeline’s path would also be in close
proximity to the Oberlin fire station, Welcome Nursing Home and Metro Park’s
Splash Zone.
Gierosky said, “The rupture of a high-pressure natural gas pipeline can lead to
outcomes that can pose a significant threat to people and property in the
immediate vicinity of the failure location. The dominant hazard is thermal radiation
from a sustained fire. In these High Consequence Areas property damage and the
chance of serious or fatal injury would be expected to be significant in the event of
a rupture failure.”
“Dr. Charles Rhodes, PhD from Xylene Pwer Ltd and experts from the Gas Research
Institute have indicated that the blast zone distance of a 36” pipeline operating at
1440 psi is approximately 1100 – 1500 feet radius from the point of the rupture,”
explained Gierosky. “That means nearly instant destruction of the homes along the
Reserve and the first responders from the Oberlin Fire Department would be so
impaired they could not assist in any rescue.”
The US Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety
Administration reported that pipeline explosions in the past decade have resulted in
175 deaths and more than $5.2 billion in property damage.

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EnLink Midstream to acquire Tall Oak Midstream

By Bob Downing Published: December 7, 2015

From a press release today:

EnLink Midstream Agrees to Acquire Tall Oak Midstream

 

Devon Energy to Simultaneously Acquire Tall Oak’s Largest Producer Customer, Felix Energy

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IPAA pleased by House action on lifting crude export ban

By Bob Downing Published: December 4, 2015

From a press release on Thursday:

IPAA Welcomes House Passage of Bipartisan Legislation that Lifts the Crude Oil Exports Ban

 

WASHINGTON, D.C.– Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bipartisan energy package, which included an amendment offered by Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) to lift the ban on U.S. crude oil exports. The crude oil exports amendment was approved by a bipartisan vote of 255 -168. Lifting trade restrictions on U.S. crude oil exports 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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Oklahoma may close seven injection wells due to quakes

By Bob Downing Published: December 4, 2015

From the Associated Press on Thursday:

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission is urging the shut-down of seven waste water disposal wells in a swath of the state that has been rattled by a swarm of earthquakes.

The commission's oil and gas conservation division released its recommendations Thursday, calling for four disposal wells near the Byron-Cherokee area and three near Medford to stop operations. The agency also says it's alerted dozens of disposal wells in that area to prepare for possible changes to operations.

A 4.7 magnitude earthquake struck about 15 miles southwest of Medford on Monday. That temblor was followed by more than a dozen earthquakes of magnitude 2.5 or greater.

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Judge delays action on disputed Blackfoot lease in Montana

By Bob Downing Published: December 4, 2015

From the Associated Press on Thursday:

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A federal judge has put on hold until early January a lawsuit over a disputed energy lease near Montana’s Glacier National Park.

U.S. District Judge Richard Leon on Thursday granted a stay that was sought by both sides in the case.

The Interior Department last month said it plans to cancel the 6,200-acre lease. It was granted in 1982 on land considered sacred to the Blackfoot tribes of the U.S. and Canada.

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MarkWest Energy, MPLX complete merger with appointments

By Bob Downing Published: December 4, 2015

From MarkWest Energy and MPLX today:

FINDLAY, Ohio, Dec. 4, 2015 - MPLX LP (NYSE: MPLX) and MarkWest Energy Partners, L.P. today announced the completion of the previously announced merger by which MarkWest became a wholly owned subsidiary of MPLX.

As of this morning, MarkWest ceased to be a publicly traded partnership and its common units discontinued trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Also effective with the closing are the following director and executive appointments:

Frank M. Semple has been named vice chairman of the general partner of MPLX and has been elected to its board of directors. Mr. Semple previously served as MarkWest's chairman, president and chief executive officer. 

Michael L. Beatty has been elected to the board of directors of the general partner of MPLX. Mr. Beatty previously served on the MarkWest board of directors, including as chairman of its nominating and corporate governance committee and as a member of its compensation committee.

Nancy K. Buese has been named executive vice president and chief financial officer of the general partner of MPLX. Ms. Buese previously served as MarkWest's executive vice president and chief financial officer.

C. Corwin Bromley has been named executive vice president, general counsel (chief legal officer) and secretary of the general partner of MPLX. Mr. Bromley previously served as MarkWest's executive vice president, general counsel and secretary. 

John C. Mollenkopf has been named executive vice president and chief operating officer - MarkWest assets at the general partner of MPLX. Mr. Mollenkopf previously served as MarkWest's executive vice president and chief operating officer.

Gregory S. Floerke has been named executive vice president and chief commercial officer - MarkWest assets at the general partner of MPLX. Mr. Floerke previously served as MarkWest's executive vice president and chief commercial officer.

 

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Schlotterbeck is named new president of EQT Corp.

By Bob Downing Published: December 4, 2015

From a Thursday press srelease:

PITTSBURGH--(BUSINESS WIRE)--EQT Corporation today announced the realignment of certain executive responsibilities, which includes the appointment of Steven T. Schlotterbeck as President of EQT Corporation (EQT or Company). Schlotterbeck will also retain his title of President, Exploration and Production; and David L. Porges will remain Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of EQT.

As part of the realignment, which was effective December 2, 2015, Schlotterbeck will assume responsibilities for several of the Company’s corporate functions, including human resources; environment, health and safety; and external affairs. He will also retain his existing responsibilities for EQT’s Production business unit, as well as other shared services functions, including information technology, procurement, and facilities.

Schlotterbeck joined EQT in 2000, holding various engineering and management positions until 2008, when he was promoted to the positions of Vice President of EQT; and President, Production. He became Senior Vice President of EQT; and President, Exploration and Production in 2010; and was then appointed Executive Vice President of EQT in 2013. Schlotterbeck is also a director of EQT GP Services, LLC, the general partner of EQT GP Holdings, LP.

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API calls proposed federal methane rules costly, duplicative

By Bob Downing Published: December 4, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute today:

WASHINGTON, December 4, 2015 – EPA’s proposal for additional methane regulations on oil and gas wells and transmission are duplicative and costly,  Howard Feldman, senior director of regulatory and scientific affairs, told reporters today on a conference call to preview API’s official comments on EPA’s proposed regulations. He said new rules could also undermine progress the industry has made lowering greenhouse gas emissions. 

“America is already leading the world in reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” Feldman said. “Even as oil and natural gas production has risen dramatically, methane emissions have fallen, thanks to industry leadership and investment in new technologies. “Methane is the primary component of natural gas, and emissions will continue to fall as operators innovate to capture and deliver more methane to heat homes and generate clean-burning electricity.”

EPA’s greenhouse gas inventory reported that methane emissions from hydraulically fractured natural gas wells are down 79 percent since 2005. Total methane emissions from natural gas systems are down 11 percent since 2005.

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Harrison County, No. 1 for Utica oil; Belmont County for gas

By Bob Downing Published: December 4, 2015

Harrison County is Ohio’s top oil-producing county in the third quarter of 2015, according to new production data from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
Ohio really has four counties producing oil: Harrison, Carroll, Guernsey and Noble. Production falls off dramatically after those four counties.
Here the Top 10 Ohio counties for oil production in the quarter:
1. Harrison, 1.7 million barrels.
2. Carroll, 1.4 million barrels.
3. Guernsey, 1.3 million barrels.
4. Noble, 964,402 barrels.
5. Monroe, 73,940 barrels.
6. Belmont, 43,770 barrels.
7. Columbiana, 43,161 barrels.
8. Tuscarawas, 13,522 barrels.
9. Morgan, 9,779 barrels.
10. Washington, 6,542 barrels.
Locally, Stark County produced 1,785 barrels of oil and Portage County produced 51 barrels of oil.

For natural gas, Belmont County is No. 1 in Ohio.
The state’s 10 top-producing natural gas wells are all in Belmont County. Eight belong to Rice Energy and two to Ascent Resources Utica.
The Belmont total for the quarter is 76.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas.
The rest of the Top 10 is:
2. Carroll, 52.5 billion cubic feet.
3. Monroe, 39.7 billion cubic feet.
4. Harrison, 39.1 billion cubic feet.
5. Noble, 29.4 billion cubic feet.
6. Guernsey, 9.1 billion cubic feet.
7. Columbiana, 6.7 billion cubic feet.
8. Mahoning, 929 million cubic feet.
9. Jefferson, 628 million cubic feet.
10. Washington, 463 million cubic feet.

Ohio’s top oil well is Antero Resources’ Seneca Unit 3H in Noble County with 48,733 barrels in the third quarter 2015.
No. 2 is Ascent Resources’ Red Hill Farm in Guernsey County with 48,700 barrels.
Ascent has five of the Top 10 oil producing wells in Ohio. Antero has two, Chesapeake has two and Carrizo has one.
Those wells are in Noble, (2), Guernsey (six), Harrison (one)and Carroll (one).
For natural gas, the top well is Rice Energy’s Mohawk 8H in Belmont County with 1.8 billion cubic feet in the third quarter.
 

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Ohio produced $3.1 billion in natural gas, oil in 2014

By Bob Downing Published: December 4, 2015

According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Geological Survey, Ohio drilled 715 gas-oil wells in 2014.

That is an increase of 72 or 11.2 percent from 2013, the 102-page report says.

A total of 669 wells are producing and 16 were dry wells.

The total reported crude oil production in Ohio in 2014
was 15,062,912 barrels, an 89.1 percent increase from 2013.
Through 2014, Ohio wells have produced 1,169,509,953
barrels.

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Investor coalition backs rules to curtail methane from drilling

By Bob Downing Published: December 4, 2015

From a Thursday press release:

INVESTORS UNITE WITH CLIMATE ADVOCATES TO SUPPORT FEDERAL REGS TO CUT METHANE

 

As comment period comes to a close, investors cite financial and environmental risks of methane emissions leaks during fracking and call for industry support of EPA regulation.

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Ohio continues to set 3Q production records from Utica Shale

By Bob Downing Published: December 3, 2015

Commodity prices may be low and pipelines may be needed, but Ohio’s Utica Shale continues to set production records, according to a new report released on Thursday by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
Oil production in Ohio increased by 111 percent: from 7.4 million barrels for the first nine months of 2014 to 15.7 million barrels for the first nine months of 2015, ODNR said.
Natural gas production jumped by 126 percent: from 287 billion cubic feet of natural gas in the first nine months of 2014 to 651 billion cubic feet for the first nine months of 2015, the state said.
Ohio’s horizontal wells produced 5.7 million barrels of oil and 245 billion cubic feet of natural gas in the third quarter (July-September), the state said.
The state’s horizontal shale wells produced more oil and gas in the first nine months of 2015 than all of Ohio’s wells produced in 2014.
In 2014, Ohio’s wells produced 15 million barrels of gas and 512 billion cubic feet of natural gas for the entire year.
The reports lists production totals for 1,134 wells, of which 1,087 listed production results. A total of 47 wells reported zero production because they are awaiting pipelines.
The average well produced 5,241 barrels of oil in the third quarter and 226 million cubic feet of natural gas in the quarter. The typical well was in production 74 days.
Ohio law does not require the separate reporting of natural gas liquids including ethane, butane and propane. Such liquids are included in natural gas reporting totals.
To date, Ohio has approved 2,087 Utica shale permits. Of that total, 1,648 Utica wells have been drilled and 1,119 Utica wells are producing. A total of 18 drilling rigs are at work in eastern Ohio’s Utica Shale.
The low commodity prices have triggered a major slowdown in the industry with drillers delaying new wells and some companies seeking buyers.
The new report is available at http://oilandgas.ohiodnr.gov/production.

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Ohio issues a new two-page fact sheet on fracture sand

By Bob Downing Published: December 3, 2015

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources'  Division of Geological Survey has released a new two-page fact sheet on fracture sand in Ohio.

Click  here  to read the document.

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Ohio's drilling boom hits speed bump with low prices

By Bob Downing Published: December 3, 2015

The Columbus Dispatch on Sunday took a look at how the drilling slowdown in eastern Ohio's Utica Shale due to low commodity prices has impacted Guernsey County and the city of Cambridge.

Click  here  to read reporter Dan Gearino's story.

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EDFAction says House vote mired in old, dirty energy sources

By Bob Downing Published: December 3, 2015

From a press release today from the EDFAction:

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Eco-group says House action will speed global warming

By Bob Downing Published: December 3, 2015

From a press release today:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. House has approved a controversial energy bill (H.R. 8) that would ease the approval process for oil and gas pipelines; increase the nation’s energy consumption; and, following the adoption last night of an amendment offered by Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), lift the nation’s decades-old ban on oil exports.
 
Environment America executive director Margie Alt issued the following statement from the 21st Conference of Parties in Paris:
 
“While world leaders seek to forge an international agreement to slow global warming, the last thing Congress should do is try to speed it up by lifting our oil export ban.
 
“To avoid devastating climate impacts—from wildfires to drought to extreme storms—we must keep fossil fuels in the ground and transition to 100 percent clean energy.
 
“We’re disappointed that Congressional leaders continue to side with the polluters over future generations, but as my staff and I observe the U.N. conference in Paris, we’re heartened by the actions the United States and nearly 200 other nations are poised to take to stem the climate crisis."

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API hails action by House of Representatives on LNG exports

By Bob Downing Published: December 3, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute today:

WASHINGTON, December 3, 2015 ─ Legislation passed today by the U.S. House of Representatives will strengthen U.S. energy security by streamlining liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports and promoting infrastructure improvements, said API. A bipartisan amendment lifting 1970s-era restrictions on crude exports also promises to deliver major economic benefits to U.S. consumers and workers.        

"America is now the world’s top oil and natural gas producer, and updating our policies for a new era is critical to harnessing the jobs and economic potential unleashed by America's energy renaissance,” said Louis Finkel, API’s executive vice president for government affairs. “Study after study shows that America’s energy exports will drive job creation and protect our allies from what the Lithuanian energy minister calls blackmail during negotiations with hostile nations.

'A major update to our energy policy hasn’t occurred since 2007. This legislation will help bring U.S. energy policy into the 21st century, allowing the U.S. to compete with nations like Iran and promoting the infrastructure we need to bring affordable, reliable energy to consumers.

“It’s ironic that at a time when tens of thousands of American workers are losing their jobs in the oil and natural gas industry, that the U.S. would strike a deal to allow Iranian crude onto the global market. This makes no sense, we need to give the same opportunity to American producers and create more American jobs.

“We urge leaders in the House and Senate to make smart energy polices a priority, in this bill and in any other legislation headed to the president’s desk before year’s end.”

API is the only national trade association representing all facets of the oil and natural gas industry, which supports 9.8 million U.S. jobs and 8 percent of the U.S. economy. API’s more than 625 members include large integrated companies, as well as exploration and production, refining, marketing, pipeline, and marine businesses, and service and supply firms. They provide most of the nation’s energy and are backed by a growing grassroots movement of more than 25 million Americans.

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Ohio school hosts conference on renewable natural gas

By Bob Downing Published: December 3, 2015

From a press release today:

(Wilberforce, OH) — Today, Clean Fuels Ohio and Energy Vision hosted a conference on renewable natural gas (RNG) made from organic waste as a transportation fuel. The conference, held at Central State University, focused on the production, utilization, and development strategies for this ultra-low-carbon transportation fuel alternative.

“RNG can be fully integrated into Ohio’s growing compressed natural gas infrastructure,” said Sam Spofforth, executive director of Clean Fuels Ohio. “It’s easy for fleets to use, provides economic benefits even compared with diesel today plus huge environmental benefits.”

Renergy, a leading producer of RNG, and Vectren, a natural gas and electricity utility, were the headlining sponsors of the event. Speakers at the event included representatives from the Argonne National Laboratory, RNG Coalition, the Ohio State University Agricultural Research Center, and more. The presentations overviewed specific project development models and policies supporting RNG that exist today.

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Devon Energy wants to buy Colorado-based Felix Energy

By Bob Downing Published: December 3, 2015

Reuters is reporting that Oklahoma-based Devon Energy Corp. wants to buy smaller Colorado-based Felix Energy LLC for about $2 billion.

Click  here  to read more.

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WPX Energy completes sale of North Dakota gathering system

By Bob Downing Published: December 3, 2015

From a recent press release:

TULSA, Okla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- WPX Energy announced that it has completed the sale of a North Dakota gathering system for approximately $185 million to a private equity fund managed by the Ares EIF Group, a subsidiary of Ares Management, L.P.

The sale is part of WPX’s deleveraging plan targeting $400-$500 million in divestitures by the end of 2015. WPX also recently completed an $80 million sale of its coalbed methane properties in Wyoming.

WPX is working to reduce debt from a transformative acquisition in August that added decades of drilling inventory in the core of the Permian’s Delaware Basin.

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Seneca Resources signs Marcellus Shale deal with IOG

By Bob Downing Published: December 3, 2015

National Fuel Gas Company announced on Wednesday that Seneca Resources Corporation, its wholly owned exploration and production subsidiary, has entered into an asset-level joint development agreement with IOG CRV - Marcellus, LLC, an affiliate of IOG Capital, LP, and funds managed by affiliates of Fortress Investment Group, LLC, to jointly develop Marcellus Shale natural gas assets located in Elk, McKean and Cameron counties in north-central Pennsylvania.

Under the terms of the Seneca operated joint development agreement, Seneca and IOG will jointly participate in a program that will develop up to 80 Marcellus wells located on approximately 10,500 acres in the Clermont/Rich Valley area in Pennsylvania. IOG will hold an 80 percent working interest and is obligated to participate in the first 42 wells, and has a one-time option to participate in the remaining 38 wells that can be exercised on or before July 1, 2016. At current well costs, IOG's obligation on the first 42 wells is expected to reduce Seneca's net capital expenditures by approximately $200 million in fiscal 2016, with a further $180 million reduction spread across fiscal 2016 and fiscal 2017 if IOG elects to participate in the remaining 38 wells.

Click  here  to read more.

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Cincinnati law firm expanding energy practice into Pittsburgh

By Bob Downing Published: December 3, 2015

From a Wednesday press release:

PITTSBURGH, Dec. 2, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Frost Brown Todd, an AM Law 200 law firm, is opening its twelfth office in the downtown area of Pittsburgh with the addition of 10 attorneys formerly with the law firm Burleson LLP.  With this opening, Frost Brown Todd enhances its Energy industry practice and expands its presence to eight states – Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and now Pennsylvania.

"As our Energy practice continues to grow, we view this new office as a strong strategic fit for our firm," said Chairman John R. Crockett III. "It enhances our ability to serve clients in the oil and gas sector, and it brings us into Pittsburgh, a market that is a natural addition to our footprint."

"We're fortunate to open our doors in Pittsburgh with a group of quality, experienced attorneys who are part of this community, who know this market, and who bring exceptional depth to our Energy practice and other areas where the firm is strong," said Chief Executive Officer George E. Yund.  "Pittsburgh is a vibrant city and we're very happy to be a part of it."

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Bill calls for Florida to study, set fracking regulations

By Bob Downing Published: December 3, 2015

From the Associated Press on Wednesday:

Florida could be opened up to fracking under a bill that would require the Department of Environmental Protection to study and set regulations for the method of oil and gas drilling.

A House committee voted 9-3 to approve the bill Wednesday despite strong opposition from environmentalists who said fracking could contaminate drinking water and cause health problems.

Fracking is the process of shooting a mix of water, sand and chemicals underground at high pressure to fracture rock formations and release oil and gas trapped inside.

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MarkWest, MPLX approve merger, deal to close Dec. 4

By Bob Downing Published: December 2, 2015

From a Tuesday press release:

Transaction expected to close Dec. 4, 2015

FINDLAY, Ohio, and DENVER, Dec. 1, 2015 - At a special meeting held today, unitholders of MarkWest Energy Partners, L.P. (NYSE: MWE) approved a strategic combination with MPLX LP (NYSE: MPLX) by voting to approve the merger agreement dated July 11, 2015, as amended. Based on the voting results, approximately 80 percent of the units voted at the special meeting were in favor of the merger agreement.

The transaction will result in MarkWest, the second-largest processor of natural gas in the United States and largest processor and fractionator in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays, becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of MPLX, a rapidly growing crude oil and refined products logistics partnership sponsored by Marathon Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:MPC). The combination creates one of the largest master limited partnerships (MLPs) and is expected to generate a mid-20 percent compound annual distribution growth rate through 2019.

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Tests show no water contamiantion at Athens injection well

By Bob Downing Published: December 2, 2015

From Energy in Depth-Ohio:

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

After an anti-fracking protest led to an arrest at a K & H injection well site in 2014, activists in Athens, Ohio have since been on a mission to prove that injection wells cause groundwater contamination to aquifers, despite the fact that there has not been one single case of groundwater contamination in Ohio from injection wells. Today, we learned that new testing for volatile organic compounds in Ohio private water wells located near the K & H injection wells in Athens, Ohio showed no signs of oil and gas influence, according to reports from the Ohio University Voinovich School. The news comes after Athens County Commissioners announced joint partnerships last month with Ohio University to conduct a study to undertake the impact from injection wells on private water wells. Testing was conducted this fall and will be repeated in March.

The injection well site and water sampling are located close to both the Hocking and Ohio Rivers. It is also the same injection well site where an anti-fracking activist was arrested in 2014 for protesting. According to the Columbus Dispatch, the activist was “not convinced those measures (regulatory measures by the Ohio Department of National Resources to protect groundwater) will keep the county’s drinking water safe”. The same sentiment was echoed by the Buckeye Forest Council, and other activists groups who called upon the U.S. EPA to audit Ohio’s injection well program, citing groundwater contamination from injection wells as a root source to their claims that Ohio’s program is unsafe. In their letter they claimed, “The Profoundly Weak Federal Requirements for Class II Injection Well Delegation under Section 1425 of the Safe Drinking Water Act.” However, as EID has reported time and time again, the allegations against Ohio’s Class II Underground Injection Control (UIC) program are simply not factual. Ohio has some of the most stringent regulations in the country, and has been regulating the process since 1983, when EPA gave the state primacy over its program. According to ODNR:

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N.Y. attorney general pushes to cut risk from crude oil trains

By Bob Downing Published: December 2, 2015

From a press release today:

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN PETITIONS FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO REDUCE DANGERS OF CRUDE OIL SHIPPED BY RAIL, CALLS FOR CLOSING LOOPHOLE 

Proposal Calls On Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration To Reduce Risk Of Explosions And Uncontrollable Fires By Setting Nationwide Limit On Vapor Pressure Of Crude Oil Carried By Rail

Millions Of Gallons Of Crude Oil Routinely Travel By Rail Through NY Communities Without Any Limit On Its Explosiveness And Flammability

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128 groups support reduction in methane emissions

By Bob Downing Published: December 2, 2015

From a press release today:

As world gathers in Paris, 125+ groups call for strict limits on U.S. oil & gas methane pollution

Community & environmental groups urge quick transition to fossil-free clean energy

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API pushing for repeal, changes to Renewable Fuel Standard

By Bob Downing Published: December 1, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute on Monday:

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Kinder Morgan, Brookfield Infrastructure buy out third partner

By Bob Downing Published: December 1, 2015

Kinder Morgan and Brookfield Infrastructure Partners said Monday that they would buy out a third company’s ownership interest in a network of natural gas pipelines serving Chicago and the Midwest, the Houston Chronicle reported.

The deal will leave the two oil and gas infrastructure companies as owners of the Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America LLC, which owns 9,200 miles of natural gas pipe and 288 billion cubic feet of working gas storage primarily near Chicago.

Their former partner, privately held Myria Holdings, will get a total of $242 million from both companies.

Click  here  to read more.

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API, others cite flaws in proposed federal well-control rule

By Bob Downing Published: December 1, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute today:

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Pennsylvania Game Commission benefits from shale drilling

By Bob Downing Published: December 1, 2015

The Pennsylvania Game Commission is reaping the benefits of shale drilling.

It is not bound by restrictions imposed on drilling on state lands by Gov. Tom Wolf.

Its income from leasing jumped from $4.7 million in 2011 to $22.1 million or 20 percent of its $100 million annual budget in the fiscal year that ended June 30.

Click  here  to read more from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

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Ohio has 1,648 drilled Utica wells, 1,119 producing Utica wells

By Bob Downing Published: December 1, 2015

Ohio has approved 2,087 Utica Shale permits, as of Nov. 28.

That total includes 1,648 drilled Utica wells and 1,119 producing Utica wells, says the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

It says 18 rigs are working in Ohio.

Nine new permits were approved: one in Belmont County, one in Carroll County, three in Jefferson County, two in Monroe County and two in Noble County.

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EIA expands monthly crude oil reporting with API gravity

By Bob Downing Published: December 1, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administartion today:

New data released yesterday by the U.S. Energy Information Administration show that for the first nine months of 2015, most (50.8%) of the crude oil produced in the Lower 48 states were light oils with an API gravity above 40 degrees. The largest share of production was in the 40.1 to 45 degree API gravity range.

Read More ›

Tags: crude oil , liquid fuels , oil/petroleum , production

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OHIO.COM VIDEOS

See the most recent drilling report and an injection wells map From NewsOutlet.org
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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.