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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Pipeline Company Sued After Spill Near Family's Home

From The Intelligencer:
Scarcely more than 1-month-old on Oct. 19, tiny Amelia Gantzer couldn’t have been ready for pipeline contractors to surround her home with noisy trucks, machines and hoses for about a month to clean up a drilling fluid spill. 
Ohio Environmental Protection Agency spokesman James Lee said officials cited Texas-based Summit Midstream Partners for an unauthorized release of bentonite clay into the stream along Belmont County Road 5 on Oct. 19. Charles and Kacey Gantzer, Amelia’s parents, live in a home along this stream near the community of Glencoe, along with their other daughter, 18-month-old Adaline. 
“At times, the noise was so loud, it was difficult to hear my 2-month-old baby crying in the next room,” Kacey Gantzer said regarding the company’s cleanup efforts. 
“No one should ever feel like they are trapped in their own home.” 
The stream in question, commonly known as Williams Creek, flows toward Glencoe, which is south of St. Clairsville and west of Bellaire. It eventually empties into McMahon Creek, which leads to the Ohio River. Christian Turak said the family’s previously serene atmosphere in the relatively isolated setting gave way to “absolute chaos” Oct. 19.
Read the whole article by clicking here.

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Appeals Court Settles Another Ohio Leasing Case

From the Energy & Environmental Law Blog:
Last week, the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its decision in Eclipse Res.—Ohio, LLC v. Madzia, concerning a dispute between a landowner and a lessee regarding the latter’s drilling rights.  Among other things, the court found:
  • The lease, which conveyed to the lessee a broad grant of rights to use the landowner’s property for drilling—including the right to transport oil and gas through the property “from other lands”—authorized drilling a horizontal well through the landowner’s property from a well pad located thereon and producing from adjacent property not owned by the landowner;
  • A separate subsurface-easement agreement, which only pertained to drilling operations on the landowner’s property, did not modify the lease to restrict off-lease production, in the absence of any language in the easement evidencing an intent to modify the lease; and
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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

$60 is the New Magic Number for Shale Oil Drillers

From Bloomberg:
For America’s shale drillers, the tipping point to boost production looks to be $60 a barrel.

It’ll take a sustained run above that price in New York before drillers rethink their spending plans for 2018, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. Until then, activity looks to be “range-bound," said analysts led by Arun Jayaram in a Wednesday research note detailing their talks with operators in the Permian shale basin in Texas and New Mexico.

Among Permian explorers, “none expected to materially alter course as long as WTI stays in the $45-55 range," despite OPEC’s decision last week to extend their own production cuts through 2018, Jayarum wrote. A one- to two-quarter run above $60 was “the consensus catalyst for another leg higher."

That said, some explorers say they plan to add “a rig here or there into next year, with very few mentions of rig drops," according to the report.
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EIA: Appalachian Basin is Producing More Natural Gas Than Any OPEC Country

From Forbes:
This week in one of their daily Today In Energy columns, the Energy Information Administration highlighted the tremendous growth of natural gas production in the Appalachian Basin:

Shale gas production in the Appalachia region has increased rapidly since 2012, driving an overall increase in U.S. natural gas production. According to EIA’s Drilling Productivity Report, natural gas production in the Appalachia region—namely the Marcellus and Utica shale plays—has increased by more than 14 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) since 2012. Overall Appalachian natural gas production grew from 7.8 Bcf/d in 2012 to 22.1 Bcf/d in 2016 and was 23.8 Bcf/d in 2017, based on EIA data through October 2017
This 200% increase in Appalachian natural gas production since 2012 has had significant implications in the U.S. market. It has driven down costs for consumers, is fueling a renaissance in the chemical manufacturing industry, and has helped push coal-fired power plants out of business.
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Another Natural Gas Power Plant is Coming to Ohio

From The Toledo Blade:
Construction is expected to begin in January on Oregon’s second major power plant fueled by natural gas, a $900 million project that reinforces how America’s fracking boom is upending the energy marketplace. 
The Ohio Power Siting Board on Thursday agreed to issue a permit to a Massachusetts developer planning to build the 955-megawatt project on behalf of Clean Energy Future-Oregon, LLC. 
Plans call for that plant to begin operating in 2020 next to the 960-mw Oregon Clean Energy plant that went online this summer. 
Both are attractive to the 13-state regional grid operator that includes Ohio, PJM Interconnection LLC, because each will have the capacity to produce more electricity than FirstEnergy Corp.’s cash-strapped Davis-Besse nuclear plant in nearby Ottawa County. 
FirstEnergy has said it may close Davis-Besse prematurely unless it finds a buyer or gets assistance from the Ohio General Assembly to help that plant and its Sammis coal-fired power plant in southern Ohio. Rock-bottom natural gas prices have resulted in coal and nuclear plant retirements elsewhere in the United States.
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New Data Debunks Claims that Fracking Drives Down Property Values

by Seth Whitehead, Energy in Depth

The Wall Street Journal published an infographic this week based on new Moody’s Investors Service data  that further debunks the oft-repeated “Keep It In the Ground” movement claim that fracking drives down property values.
The WSJ graphic shows state-by-state property value trends since 2007, which happens to be about the time the U.S. shale revolution took off.
Notably, eight of the nine states that have experienced the most robust property value growth over the past decade— an increase of 40 percent or more since 2007, according to the graphic — are major oil and natural gas producing states.
Seven of those states — Texas, North Dakota, New Mexico, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Wyoming and Montana — have had significant shale development since 2007 (fracking has been conducted in Alaska as well, though not on a major scale).
Also of note is the fact that Pennsylvania, which has emerged as the second most prolific natural gas producer in the U.S. thanks to fracking, has seen more significant property value growth since 2007 (21-40 percent) than neighboring New York (0-20 percent), which has banned fracking.
All told, a vast majority of major U.S. shale states have seen their property values surge — the complete opposite of what fracking opponents have repeatedly claimed.
And this is just the latest real world data debunking these unfounded claims.
For instance, in Tarrant County, Texas — which is the top natural gas producing county in what is by far the most prolific oil and natural gas producing state in the U.S. — the overall market value of property jumped 10.6 percent this year to $219.4 billion from $198.3 billion. This follows a 14 percent jump in 2016. The rest of the Lone Star State isn’t far behind, as home values have gone up 7.1 percent over last year.
In Colorado, which is a top-10 oil and gas producing state, property values have increased 21-40 percent since 2007, according to the WSJ graphic. This data is in line with a 2016 Ballotpedia study that found “no definitive evidence” that oil and gas development is negatively impacting Colorado property values. The study also noted that “homes near oil and gas development in some cases have higher sales prices and values than homes without.”
In Weld County, Colorado’s top oil producing county, a 2015 EID investigation found the median home value rose 15.3 percent in 2014. Weld County Assessor Chris Woodruff told EID that:
“We haven’t seen that proximity to oil and gas operations has caused a loss in value. We’re not seeing that.”
EID has also previously noted that two of Pennsylvania’s most heavily drilled counties, Bradford and Washington, saw median house values increase 61.5 percent and 70 percent, respectively, from 2000 to 2013. These increases came at the same time the combined shale well counts in those counties went from zero to 2,800.
Similarly, home values have gone up 6 percent in Montana, 4 percent in New Mexico, 3.2 percentin Oklahoma and 2.6 percent in Wyoming over the past year at the same time drilling has increased significantly in each of those states.
Clearly, if anti-fracking activists’ claims that fracking drives down property values were true, this data would be trending in the opposite direction. But this WSJ graphic plainly illustrates the fact that property values are actually increasing in areas with significant shale development, busting another tired “Keep It In The Ground” myth.

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December 2017 Shale Activity Maps Published by ODNR

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Monday, December 11, 2017

Utica Shale Activity Stays Steady on Latest ODNR Report

New permits issued last week: 10  (Previous week: 10+-0
Total horizontal permits issued: 2703  (Previous week: 2694+9
Total horizontal wells drilled: 2187  (Previous week: 2184+3
Total horizontal wells producing: 1735 (Previous week: 1735+-0
Utica rig count: 21 (Previous week: 21)  +-0

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