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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Ohio Roads Continue to Take a Beating From Heavy Oil and Gas Truck Traffic

From the Times Leader:
The oil and natural gas industry has been a boon to the Buckeye State, but local officials say the related heavy truck traffic is taking a toll on local roads.

The situation is exacerbated when truck drivers unfamiliar with the area utilize the wrong roads, area leaders said. 
Belmont Mayor Stan Sobel said this has been an issue in his village for the past six years. 
“Some of the oil and gas trucks have damaged our roads. Some of the drivers, instead of making a turn on our roads normally, they go over the sidewalk and crush sewer systems. There have been a couple times where they have knocked down the poles that held our cable and our telephone services, and we were without service for three days because of that. There’s just been a whole host of things going on,” he said, adding that the problem in his community mainly occurs on Bridge Street and Main Street, with residents’ mailboxes taking damage as well. 
“For us and many of the small villages, the big thing is the destruction of roads,” Sobel continued. “They’re breaking up our roads. Some of the drivers go through people’s yards. We had, at one time, three different mailboxes that were sheared off along the road and lying in the road because of some of these people that went through.
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Job Seekers Finding Opportunities in the Oil and Gas Industry

From WTRF:
On Thursday, dozens of residents had the chance to look for a good paying job in the fastest growing industry in our area. 
It was all part of the Tri-State Natural Gas Job Fair. 
The event was held at the JB. Martin Rec Center behind St. Clairsville High School. 
People could meet with recruiters from Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio in the natural gas, oil and gas industries.

Many people told 7News they were excited about the options.
Click here to read the whole article, including a list of some of the jobs available.

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New Yale Study is the Latest to Find Shale Drilling Does Not Contaminate Water

From PNAS:
Concern persists over the potential for unconventional oil and gas development to contaminate groundwater with methane and other chemicals. These concerns motivated our 2-year prospective study of groundwater quality within the Marcellus Shale. We installed eight multilevel monitoring wells within bedrock aquifers of a 25-km2 area targeted for shale gas development (SGD). Twenty-four isolated intervals within these wells were sampled monthly over 2 years and groundwater pressures were recorded before, during, and after seven shale gas wells were drilled, hydraulically fractured, and placed into production. Perturbations in groundwater pressures were detected at hilltop monitoring wells during drilling of nearby gas wells and during a gas well casing breach. In both instances, pressure changes were ephemeral (<24 hours) and no lasting impact on groundwater quality was observed. Overall, methane concentrations ([CH4]) ranged from detection limit to 70 mg/L, increased with aquifer depth, and, at several sites, exhibited considerable temporal variability. Methane concentrations in valley monitoring wells located above gas well laterals increased in conjunction with SGD, but CH4 isotopic composition and hydrocarbon composition (CH4/C2H6) are inconsistent with Marcellus origins for this gas. Further, salinity increased concurrently with [CH4], which rules out contamination by gas phase migration of fugitive methane from structurally compromised gas wells. Collectively, our observations suggest that SGD was an unlikely source of methane in our valley wells, and that naturally occurring methane in valley settings, where regional flow systems interact with local flow systems, is more variable in concentration and composition both temporally and spatially than previously understood.

Click here to consider more on the PNAS website.

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Cabot Begins Search for Oil and Gas in Ashland County

From the Ashland Times-Gazette:
In a bid to find the next big source of oil and gas in Ohio, preparations for two exploratory wells are underway in southern Ashland County.

Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. has permits from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to build two wells out of an anticipated five exploratory wells with Green and Mohican townships seeing a flurry of activity after the permits were approved.
A rig is expected to be ready to drill within the next week at the Kamenik Well Pad located on top of a hill at 1082 Township Road 2375 in Green Township. The site has been under construction for about a month.
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Anti-Drillers Fight Against NEXUS Pipeline in Green Hits a Wall as Referendum is Kept Off Ballot

From The Suburbanite:
An effort to place a referendum on the ballot regarding the NEXUS settlement won’t be moving forward. 
During the June 11 council meeting, Green Interim Law Director William Chris said several legal counsels reviewed the document and found several insufficiencies. 
The referendum effort came about following City Council approving a settlement with NEXUS on Feb. 7 by a 4-3 vote. The city received park land, $7.5 million and several other safety measures as a part of the settlement. Citizens for Responsible Green Government formed and circulated a petition to have the settlement decided by the voters on the ballot. The group collected more than 1,500 signatures and gave it to the city, which then turned it over to the Summit County Board of Elections. 
The Board of Elections declined to address the validity of the petition and only focused on the validity of the individual signatures. Those signatures were found to be valid. The petitions were then returned to the city to determine the sufficiency and validity of the petition, based on Ohio Revised Code Section 731.31. 
After obtaining several legal opinions, the city won’t be returning the petition back to the Board of Elections. Legal advice from counsel said the petition is insufficient and invalid. The city requested the opinion of Chris and an outside law firm, Brennan, Manna & Diamond, to provide a legal opinion on the sufficiency and validity of the petitions.
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Ohio's Law on Forced Pooling is Upheld in Federal Court

From Vorys Energy & Environmental Law Blog:
On June 13, 2018, a federal district court rejected a takings challenge to a unit order issued by the Ohio Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management under the state’s statutory unitization law, R.C. 1509.28 The court found that “the statutory unitization procedure set forth in R.C. § 1509.28 operates to protect the correlative rights of landowners….and it was passed as a valid exercise of Ohio’s police power.” See Kerns v. Chesapeake Exploration, LLC , N.D. Ohio No. 5:18 CV 389 (June 13, 2018). Although the constitutionality of statutory unitization or its analog, mandatory pooling, is well-settled nationwide, Kerns is the first decision to squarely consider Ohio’s unitization law.
You can read the actual decision below.

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Gas Drillers Hurt by Rise in Oil Drilling

From the Wall Street Journal:
Higher oil prices are helping many American shale drillers. But they are hurting companies that frack for natural gas. 
As companies respond to rising oil prices by drilling more for it, they often unearth gas as a byproduct. That has further weighed on already low gas prices, pressuring shale frackers in regions that primarily produce gas. 
The average share price for the five top companies focused on the oil-rich Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico are up more than 16% over the past year. Share prices for the top five producers focused on the Marcellus Shale in Appalachia, the country’s largest deposit of natural gas, are down more than 9%. 
“It’s going to be tough for the Marcellus for a while,” said Brian Lidsky, managing director at oil-and-gas research firm PLS Inc. “There is just a tidal wave of gas coming out of the Permian.”
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Some Companies Pay the Price for Hedging Oil at $55

From Reuters:
Many top U.S. shale oil producers are missing out on the rally in oil prices to more than $70 a barrel - because they sold their oil through futures contracts at about $55 last year when that looked like a good deal. Now, it looks cheap. 
Those hedged bets will hold down revenues and further frustrate Wall Street investors, who have been disappointed by slow returns from the booming Permian Basin in west Texas. 
The top 25 shale producers will forego about $1.7 billion in combined revenues in the second quarter with oil prices at about $70, according to Denver-based consultancy PetroNerds. Many of those producers used hedges that guaranteed them between $55 and $58 a barrel.

Some west Texas producers face a second profit-limiting dynamic: They are forced to cut prices because the region’s production is overwhelming its pipeline network, raising transportation costs.
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