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Friday, June 28, 2013

Plans for New Hotel in Carrollton Discussed

From the Free Press Standard:
Jim Bertram, regional director of Corporex Energy Solutions LLC, presented council with plans for a 100-room, four-story Candlewood Suites Hotel on a 26.916-acre tract north of Discount Drug Mart on SR 43.  Bertram told council they want to break ground in August and be under roof before November snowfall.  
Corporex was founded by The William P. Butler Construction Company in 1965 and has developed over 18 million square feet of Class A office and industrial space.  Bertram said the company owns 21 hotels and manages 60.  The home office is located in Covington, KY.  
“We are aggressive builders but build good quality,” said Bertram.  “We are a very community friendly company and plan to bring retail, commercial and multi-family single homes to the area.” 
Bertram explained the hotel drive will be north of the current underground pipelines and they are working with Tennessee Gas to not encroach on their easements.   
An ordinance approving the subdivision of the tract currently owned by Mary Lou McClelland was scheduled to be presented to council as an emergency but could not be addressed due to lack of council members in attendance.  The ordinance would have divided the property into a 2.990-acre tract and the remaining 23.926-acres.  The Planning Commission met and recommended allowing the subdivision.
Read more here.

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Hess Energy Staying Active in the Utica Shale Play

From The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register:
Ohio Department of Natural Resources records show Hess holds the permit for the Lude well that has been flaring. The Lude, just east of the Jamboree In The Hills site, well is still in its early stages, so Hess does not yet have any reporting information for it, but the company has reported some results from eastern Ohio wells.
The Capstone 2H9 well, located near Flushing in the area of Ohio 331 and Dutton Drive, produced 2,242 barrels of oil equivalent per day during the first three months of this year. This means the well is yielding an amount of energy equal to what would come from 2,242 barrels of oil, although the well may not be producing a substance that is chemically considered to be oil.
The Capstone well is producing more energy than some Chesapeake wells in Harrison County, as well as Ohio County.
Also, the Hess NAC 4H-20 well in Jefferson County produced 7.5 million cubic feet of dry methane gas per day during the first quarter.
Read the entire article by clicking here. 

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Latest Gulfport Energy Well Numbers Further Hit-or-Miss Perception of the Utica Shale

From The Motley Fool:
If investors have learned one thing about the Utica Shale, it's that the play is really becoming hit-or-miss. That being said, when a company hits, it's usually a really big hit. That gives both producers and investors hope that the play will turn out to be just fine.
We saw an example in Rex Energy's  (NASDAQ: REXX  )  recent Utica well results. One of the wells produced really good initial production, while a second well underwhelmed. However, just as in baseball, hitting a few home runs can really help win the game. 
Rex's first well, the G. Graham 1H, produced an average 30-day sales rate of 1,256 barrels of oil equivalent per day if full ethane recovery is assumed. The product mix was 46% natural gas liquids, 33% natural gas, and 21% condensate. This well, which was drilled to a depth of 12,098 feet with lateral length of about 3,973 feet, was completed using the company's "Super Frac" completion technique. That's important to remember, especially when looking at its other well which used a different technique.
That second well, the G. Graham 2H, performed so far below the company's expectations that Rex didn't provide investors with the sales numbers. This well was completed with a third-party proprietary completion technique, and Rex is reviewing the results. Rex did make one thing clear: It will only be using its "Super Frac" completion technique going forward. Overall, Rex remains very positive on the Utica and sees the potential for 110 additional wells in its northern Utica prospect. If these wells can produce at or above expectations, it has the potential to create a lot of value for Rex's investors.
Read the whole article here. 

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Eclipse Resources Acquires The Oxford Oil Company in the Utica Shale

STATE COLLEGE, Pa.June 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Eclipse Resources I, LP ("Eclipse Resources") announced today that it has acquired The Oxford Oil Company, LLC, with approximately 184,000 net acres in Ohio and 13.8 Bcfe of proved developed producing reserves. The Oxford Oil Company, LLC ("Oxford") was subsequently renamed to Eclipse Resources – Ohio, LLC and will remain a wholly owned subsidiary of Eclipse Resources. In conjunction with the acquisition, the company has completed a private offering of $300 million of senior unsecured notes with the ability to sell an additional $100 millionover the next twelve months to the note acquirers.
Prior to the acquisition, Eclipse Resources owned approximately 41,000 net acres in BelmontGuernsey,Monroe and Noble Counties in Ohio where the largest wells in the Utica Shale play have been reported to date. With the acquisition of Oxford, Eclipse Resources now owns approximately 90,000 net acres in these core Utica Shale counties, as well as in Harrison County, Ohio. Eclipse Resources has recently completed drilling a Utica Shale well in Monroe County with very encouraging results, and has participated in five wells in Noble County that have shown strong initial production rates and high liquids yields. The company is currently running one rig in the play, and is participating, on a non-operated basis, in operations of three additional rigs in the play.
Benjamin W. Hulburt, President and CEO of Eclipse Resources, commented, "We are extremely excited to have completed this very significant acquisition, making Eclipse Resources one of the largest acreage owners in the "core" of the Utica Shale play in southeastern Ohio. We plan to grow our operated, Uticafocused rig count to up to five horizontal rigs running in the play between now and year-end 2014. We are planning a very active drilling program in HarrisonGuernseyNobleBelmont and Monroe Counties commencing immediately and continuing for the next several years. Concurrently, we will look to opportunistically add leases to enhance our already attractive, contiguous acreage base. While we plan to take a cautious approach to the oil window portion of the Utica Shale play, our 135,000 net acres in that portion of the fairway offer Eclipse tremendous additional upside should the industry prove the economic viability of extracting oil from the Utica Shale. With the additional equity capital that has been invested in Eclipse Resources from our partner, EnCap Investments, and through our unsecured notes offering, we are very well positioned to develop our assets and expect to realize very significant growth in the near future." Mr. Hulburt added, "We are pleased to have over 50 new Oxford employees join the Eclipse team and expect to continue to utilize their talents as we grow our business. With the acquisition, Eclipse now has an established operational center in Zanesville, Ohio. We look forward to expanding our activities in that location and continuing to add drilling, completion and production personnel."
Eclipse Resources also announced today that Marty L. Byrd will join Eclipse Resources effective July 1 stas Vice President – Land. Mr. Byrd brings over 30-years of land experience to the company and was most recently the Vice President, Land, Eastern Division – Appalachian Basin for Chesapeake Energy Corporation where he managed and coordinated the land activities that resulted in the establishment of over 600 horizontal well units and 400 horizontal wells with a 26-rig drilling program in the Marcellus Shale.
Mr. Hulburt commented, "We couldn't be more pleased to have a gentleman of Marty's caliber and experience join the Eclipse Resources team. Marty's invaluable experience in managing one of the largest land departments and drilling programs in the entire Appalachian Basin will assist Eclipse Resources greatly as we significantly scale up our drilling activities in the Utica Shale."
RBC Richardson Barr acted as financial advisor to Oxford Oil on the transaction. Jefferies LLC acted as exclusive placement agent to Eclipse Resources for the senior notes transaction, which was placed with funds and accounts, including those managed by GSO Capital Partners LP and Magnetar Capital.
About Eclipse Resources
Eclipse Resources is a State College, Pennsylvania based oil and gas company focused on the acquisition, exploration and development of unconventional oil and natural gas properties in the Appalachian Basin, including the Utica Shale, Marcellus Shale and Upper Devonian Shales. Founded in 2011 in partnership with EnCap Investments, Eclipse Resources follows the success of the management team's proven track record in building successful oil and gas enterprises. For more information, please visit www.eclipseresources.com.
About EnCap Investments
Since 1988, EnCap has been the leading provider of private equity to the independent sector of the U.S. oil & gas industry. The firm has raised 17 institutional oil and gas investment funds totaling approximately$18 billion and currently manages capital on behalf of over 300 U.S. and International investors. EnCap professionals represent more than 250 years of experience in the energy finance and investment business and have established a reputation as an innovative, "value-added" source of private capital to the independent sector. EnCap has a proven track record having successfully invested with over 200 upstream and midstream oil & gas companies. For more information, please visit www.encapinvestments.com.
SOURCE Eclipse Resources

CONTACT: Eclipse Resources, +814-308-9754

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Partnership in Youngstown Projected to Produce 30 Jobs

Partnership will create jobs and
supply critical equipment for
Marcellus and Utica
oil and gas production
YOUNGSTOWN, OH (June 27, 2013) – Valerus (www.valerus.com), one of the world’s leading providers of integrated oil and gas handling and processing solutions, held a ribbon cutting yesterday with Youngstown-based Brilex Industries (www.brilex.com), celebrating their partnership to manufacture Valerus production equipment at the Brilex facility for deployment throughout the region. Valerus and Brilex employees welcomed state and local civic leaders, business leaders and members of the media to share how their partnership will impact the Youngstown economy and help support the region’s Marcellus and Utica oil and gas industry.

Pete Lane, CEO for Valerus, shared his company’s appreciation for those who helped make the partnership a reality. “Valerus greatly appreciates the support it received from the State of Ohio, the City of Youngstown, the Youngstown and Warren Regional Chambers and the Northeast Ohio economic development team that guided us through the development process.”

Brian Benyo, president of Brilex Industries, noted, “The Brilex partnership with Valerus will benefit the local economy and bring value to the region’s rapidly growing oil and gas industry.” In addition, Benyo added that the partnership “will benefit both the city of Youngstown through job creation and the region’s unconventional gas market, which is expected to continue to grow.”

The partnership has created ten jobs since 2012 and is expected to create approximately 30 local jobs as a result of increased manufacturing at the facility. It will also provide oil and gas operators in the Utica and Marcellus shale plays with access to production equipment more quickly and at reduced transportation costs than previously possible. Equipment manufactured in Youngstown will be tailored to meet the typical process conditions required for oil and gas production in the Marcellus/Utica shale plays, including equipment that is in high demand in the region.

About Brilex
Founded in 1996, Brilex has become one of Youngstown, Ohio’s fastest growing, aggressive companies. Brilex has established itself as a worldwide source for fabricating, machining, and complete machine assembly. As an aggressive and knowledgeable team focusing on quality, efficiency, and on-time reliability, Brilex Industries has become a preferred full service supplier to OEMs and end users in the metals, rubber, plastics, power generation, and other capital equipment industries.

About Valerus
Valerus is a worldwide leader in integrated oil and gas handling and processing. Products and services include reciprocating compressor packages, production equipment, gas processing solutions, liquid separation systems and a variety of professional field services. Its mission is to develop tailored solutions for its customers by combining the most experienced people with innovation and quality equipment. Valerus is committed to achieving the highest standards in health, safety and environmental responsibility.

For Additional Information:
Chris Wailes or Sara Aschenbrenner
cwailes@piercom.com
saschenbrenner@piercom.com
Pierpont Communications
Houston, Texas
713.627.2223
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GreenHunter Water's Site Plan for Wheeling Goes to Vote on July 8

From The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register:
GreenHunter's site plan for the natural gas frack water project in the Warwood section of Wheeling is expected to be up for review again at the 5 p.m. July 8 Wheeling Planning Commission meeting in City Council Chambers. During the June 10 meeting, commissioners determined that GreenHunter needed to address some minor issues before commissioners signed off on the frack water recycling plan.
John Jack, vice president of Business Development for GreenHunter, said his company recycles water for natural gas producers such as Chesapeake Energy, Magnum Hunter, Chevron and others. He said there will be 19 storage tanks at the North 28th Street site, but emphasized the old rusty tanks left over from Seidler's will be dismantled and removed.
He said the Wheeling facility will operate 24 hours per day every day, though he said "90 percent to 95 percent" of the trucks that come through each day will do say during daytime hours. Though Jack said the number of trucks entering and exiting the facility each day could vary widely, he said a "good daily estimate" would be 30.
Read the whole article by clicking here. 

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Chemical Emergency at Ohio Oil Well Draws Attention of Federal Investigators

From The Associated Press:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency confirmed its investigation of the Jan. 16 incident near St. Marys in Auglaize County in an April 26 letter to the coalition. The alliance comprising the Center for Health, Environment & Justice, the Sierra Club, ProgressOhio and others said it received the letter May 31.
The groups had asked the federal EPA to review the St. Marys oil leak as well as alleged Clean Water Act violations in a separate Youngstown case to see if the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' oil and gas regulatory program is working effectively. The coalition proposes that the federal government take back its oversight responsibilities in the state.
Its complaint alleged that Ohio has been out of compliance with the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, or EPCRA, under which chemical inventories are to be publicly available, since 2001. In that year, state lawmakers passed a law "that essentially exempts the oil and gas industry operating in this state from requirements (of the federal law)," the activists said.
The whole article can be read here. 

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

16 New Permits Last Week Push Total to 747; Carroll County Nearing 300

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources issued 16 new permits for drilling in the Utica shale last week.

5 permits were for Harrison County, 4 for Carroll and Belmont counties, and 1 each for Columbiana, Mahoning and Monroe.

The cumulative total for permits now stands at 747, with 366 wells drilled and 109 now producing.  The Utica rig count is 32.

View the report here.

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Will Duke's Latest Attempt to Dig Up Something Against Fracking Have an Impact?

From Shale Reporter:
A study published this week found methane levels in drinking water wells near fracking sites in northern Pennsylvania are, on average, six times greater than those in wells further away.
The authors of the study are now in a safe house, hiding from the oil and gas industry.
Methane is naturally occurring, and eighty percent of the wells tested showed some level of methane, even ones not near gas operations. But out of the 12 homes showing dangerous methane levels (above the federal limit of 28 milligrams per liter), 11 were close to drilling sites.
Coincidence?
Read the rest of that article here.

If there is one thing about this study that keeps coming to mind as reason to question the findings, it's this point brought out by Energy in Depth:
Fact 4: Still No Random Sample? 
One of the quickest ways to undermine your own scientific findings is to engage in selection bias when establishing research parameters. This means, in the simplest terms, that folks attempting to craft a scientific argument should rely on random sampling, rather than carefully selecting one site over another, to remove any suspicion of deliberately using one set of evidence – to prove one particular conclusion – over another. 
Which brings us to the “Methods” section of the Duke II paper: 
“The samples were obtained from homeowner associations and contacts with the goal of sampling Alluvium, Catskill, and Lock Haven groundwater wells across the region.” (p. 5; emphasis added)
Does this mean the Duke team consciously selected particular water wells (or areas with historically bad water) for the purpose of padding the stats a bit in buttressing their conclusions? Fact is, without knowing who these vaguely described “contacts” are, we can’t really make a determination about the validity of the sample itself. That doesn’t mean the researchers cooked the books and only sought out households that the anti-shale activists in the area identified for them as good targets for the study. But given the fact that Duke’s Nicholas School — the entity from which this study originated — is funded, in part, by the same organization that finances local “Gasland” screenings across the country, it’s hardly unreasonable to expect these researchers to tell us how they decided to choose one household for the study over another.
That's a pretty valid point when the key factor that's being cited is the frequency with which methane is showing up.  How were the wells for testing actually selected?  What was the criteria for selecting one instead of another?  Why wasn't it random?  These seem like fair questions.

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Article Says U.S. Oil Export Limitations Are Costly

From Reuters:
The American “shale boom” is poised to revolutionize global energy markets. It could transform the nation from a longtime net oil importer into an export powerhouse. Consider that the 2012 increase in U.S. crude oil production, announced last week, was the largest not just in U.S. history but the world.
To help this transformation, a bipartisan swath of federal and state officials is pressing for new infrastructure, like the Keystone XL pipeline, to move a glut of domestic oil from the center of North America to Gulf ports. This is a crucial step, but unless Congress reforms archaic restrictions on crude oil exports, all that black gold’s going nowhere.
These restrictions not only contradict global trade rules and national trade and energy policies, they also threaten to derail the American energy revolution. Yet, unlike similar restrictions on natural gas, almost no one in Washington is talking about them.
Read the rest of the story here.

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IEA Report: Renewable Energy Will Eclipse Gas by 2016

From New Scientist:
The dash for gas is being outrun by the race for renewables. According to thelatest projections from the International Energy Agency, by 2016 global electricity generation from wind, solar, hydro and other forms of renewable power will exceed that from natural gas – and should be double that provided by nuclear plants.
This surge is being driven in large part by emerging economies. China is leading the way, accounting for 40 per cent of the projected global growth in renewables between 2012 and 2018, the IEA – a Paris-based body with 28 member countries – notes.
So are we on track to transition from coal to a low-carbon future based around renewables, with natural gas as a temporary "bridge fuel"?
Not yet, say energy analysts: major changes in policy are still needed if the world is to avoid tipping over the 2 °C threshold that climatologists say constitutes "dangerous" global warming.
Read more of this story by clicking here. 

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Drilling Critic Calls Obama Climate Plan "a Full-Throttle Fracking Endorsement"

From the Huffington Post:
Today, President Barack Obama announced his administration's "Climate Action Plan" for cutting carbon pollution in his second term in the Oval Office Hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") is the toxic horizontal drilling process via which gas is obtained from shale rock basins around the world, and touting its expanded use flies in the face of any legitimate plan to tackle climate change or create a healthy future for children. 
The rest of the article continues along those lines.  It can be read here.

This article is another reminder that the real goal of anti-drilling organizations is to completely put a stop to all drilling for fossil fuels, no matter how much they may state that their goal is to get a moratorium until proper regulations can be put into place.

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Energy in Depth Introduces Reorganized Website

From an IPAA press release:
Key features of the new EID site include:
·One Stop News Source.As the EID program has expanded over the years, new regional planks have gradually been added to the platform – first in Pennsylvania and New York, then in Ohio and California. Previously, each of these satellite programs maintained its own website and social media presence separate and apart from EID’s national platform. With the launch of EID’s new web portal (www.energyindepth.org) today, all of these state and regional efforts will be consolidated under one program, with users now having the ability to filter and access content on the site in a way that’s tailored to their specific needs and interests – broken down specifically by state or region. The new EID site currently hosts state-specific tabs for Ohio, Calif., Illinois, Michigan and Texas, and regional pages for the Marcellus (Pa., N.Y., and W.Va.) and Mountain States (Colo., Nev., Mont., and Utah). Additional tabs are expected to be added in the coming months.
·Focus on Video Series.As part of today’s news, EID also announced the launch of new web-video series that will address and correct some of the most common and pervasive myths impacting the present debate over the development of oil and natural gas from shale. First up in the queue: a short video busting the myth of high radon content in the Marcellus Shale, a talking point that opponents of an important new pipeline project in New York frequently cite as a reason to stop development. Additional videos in a similar format will be released on the website every couple weeks.
“EID has always been known for great content,” added Eshelman. “But if we expect to reach and engage new audiences about the promise and potential of responsible resource development, we’re going to need more than just fact sheets and issue alerts. We’re going to need smart and compelling digital and multimedia content that can be shared across multiple platforms, and presented in a way that’s relevant, actionable and -- yes – even entertaining to the folks we’re trying to reach. The launch of this new web video series is a big step forward in that effort, and one we’re hoping will help us move the needle on these issues even more in the future.”
You can read the whole release here.

Anti-drilling blog "No Fracking Way" was quick to respond, calling the redesigned site the equivalent of putting "a pretty red bow on a pile of dog poop."  I don't know what more to say, except that you can read that entire post by clicking here.  

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

New Industrial Park in the Works in Canton

From The Canton Repository:
On Wednesday, the Canton Community Improvement Corporation acquired 17 parcels between the 2200 and 2400 blocks of 13th Street NE that were previously in foreclosure. The CIC paid a total of $564 for the properties in deed preparation, recording and transfer fees. 
The former Weber Dental and Ohio Cast Products sites bookend the prospective industrial park that Joseph A. Jeffries Company plans to develop. The CIC has plans to acquire two more parcels where existing businesses operate. Those businesses will relocate within the city, Development Director Fonda Williams said. 
The developer already has tenants in mind, even though the project is two to three years away from beginning. 
“We hope to have (a role in the project),” said Bill Jeffries, a partner in the development firm. “You’re talking about a two- or three-year plan. ...The advantage of that site, of course, is its location. It has access to rail and is a multi-acre site in an industrial area. You could attract a whole lot of people there.” 
Jeffries said tenants could include the oil and gas industry.
Read the entire article here.

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Savage Opens Transloading Operation at the Ohio Commerce Center

Savage today introduced bulk material handling and rail transloading services at the Ohio Commerce Center (OCC) in Lordstown, Ohio. Located in the heart of the Utica Shale Play the OCC is uniquely positioned to serve the oil and gas markets by rail. Savage has extensive experience transloading, managing logistics and operating rail terminals that handle oil and gas field products.
This new Savage operation benefits from OCC’s 500+ acres of land adjacent to Route 45 and just minutes from I-80 and the Ohio Turnpike. The OCC has direct access to the CSX Class 1 rail line and over 10 miles of track to handle in and out bound unit trains. Savage’s transload services include the handling, loading and distribution of hazardous and nonhazardous materials. The OCC is currently undergoing an expansion which will equip the facility with loop tracks able to accommodate the loading of unit trains.
“We are pleased to offer our services and oil and gas expertise to the OCC’s existing and new customers,” said Ed Ivey, VP and Business Unit Leader for Savage. “Transloading services at the OCC will allow oil producers in the Utica Shale Play a more flexible option to get their products to market.”
Contact Dan Price for more details on transloading and logistics services Savage is offering at the new Lordstown, Ohio, terminal: danielp@savageservices.com, 219-384-0055.
About Savage
Savage is an innovative supply chain solutions company, dedicated to creating value for customers by moving and managing critical materials and improving operational efficiency with worry-free consistency. With 170 locations and over 2,600 employees, Savage is a global leader in the creation and delivery of bundled supply chain management services that are tailored to meet the needs of customers. Savage serves many industries including: electric power generation, coal production, oil and gas, refining, agriculture, chemical, mining and manufacturing. With capabilities that span transportation, asset management and material handling and processing, Savage provides services and technology customized for each customer’s unique supply chain challenge. For further information regarding Savage, please visit www.savageservices.com.

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AGA Issues Statement on President Obama's Climate Action Plan

STATEMENT BY AGA PRESIDENT AND CEO DAVE MCCURDY ON PRESIDENT OBAMA’S CLIMATE ACTION PLAN   

Washington, D.C. –Dave McCurdy, President and CEO of the American Gas Association (AGA) issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s Climate Action Plan:
“Working alongside renewables and energy efficiency, our domestic abundance of natural gas provides an incredible opportunity to deliver the essential energy that will help drive economic growth while protecting the environment.  Natural gas utilities are committed to actions that, in the words of the President, 'save families money, make our businesses more competitive and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.'

“In communities throughout the country, demand for safe and responsible delivery of natural gas has increased and local utilities have heeded that call, upgrading and expanding what the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration calls the safest and most reliable method of delivering energy in the nation. We welcome President Obama’s support in these efforts.

“Through on-going investments to modernize the natural gas delivery infrastructure, AGA member utilities have helped to reduce emissions while delivering a clean energy solution to American homes and businesses. Emissions from the natural gas delivery system have been reduced by 16 percent since 1990, even as natural gas utilities are serving 30 percent more homes and businesses.  These reductions are the result of America’s natural gas utilities replacing miles of cast iron and unprotected steel pipe with modern plastic pipe. We are committed to lowering emission even further. We support the President’s commitment to better understand and more accurately measure the methane emissions from natural gas systems. AGA and several of its members are joining the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to sponsor a nationwide field study to better understand emissions associated with the distribution and delivery of natural gas.

“The President can further advance our nation’s climate goals by supporting advanced technologies using natural gas, such as natural gas vehicles, microgrids, distributed generation and combined heat and power. These innovations have great potential to reduce emissions in the transportation, building and manufacturing sectors while providing customers an affordable, resilient energy solution.
“We envision a future where natural gas not only provides energy for homes and businesses, but runs a significant number of our vehicles, generates power and supports other forms of renewable energy. America’s natural gas utilities will continue to provide safe and reliable service to our customers today while building the 21st century infrastructure necessary to serve the nation’s energy needs tomorrow. With natural gas as a foundation fuel for a clean and secure energy portfolio, we can meet our national goals of boosting our economy, improving our environment and increasing our energy security.”
# # #
The American Gas Association, founded in 1918, represents more than 200 local energy companies that deliver clean natural gas throughout the United States. There are more than 71 million residential, commercial and industrial natural gas customers in the U.S., of which 92 percent — more than 65 million customers — receive their gas from AGA members. Today, natural gas meets almost one-fourth of the United States' energy needs.

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President Obama Endorses Natural Gas as Bridge Fuel in Climate Speech

From Forbes:
The chief method of cutting emissions is to effectively declare war on coal. In the plan’s most controversial aspect, “President Obama is issuing a Presidential Memorandum directing the Environmental Protection Agency to work expeditiously to complete carbon pollution standards for both new and existing power plants.” These standards, it says, should be drafted by this time next year, and put into place by mid 2015. How tough will they be? This “blueprint” doesn’t say, but if the EPA’s recent rule-making actions are a guide, the plan is to drive as many coal-fired power plants into mothballs as possible.
The document states that “65% of all greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to energy supply and energy use.” About 40% of those emissions come from coal and a similar portion from oil.
The president’s policy then, is to promote natural gas as a “bridge fuel” to get the country away from coal and oil. “We will promote fuel-switching from coal to gas for electricity production and encourage the development of a global market for gas,” says the plan. In his speech today the president said: ”Natural gas is creating jobs. And it’s the transition fuel that can power our economy with less carbon pollution.”
This implies that the EPA will do its part to persuade power generators to build more gas-fired power plants, while DOE and FERC will be encouraged to approve a sizable number of liquefied natural gas export terminals.
Read the rest here.

Further coverage of the climate speech, from the Washington Post:
What did we learn from President Obama’s climate speech Tuesday? Here are five takeaways.
1. He won’t duck the climate implications of Keystone XL, even though he may still end up approving it. Obama declared, “Our national interest will be served only if this pipeline does not significantly exacerbate the climate problem.” That means the administration will be analyzing whether approving the project will generate more greenhouse gas emissions than blocking it would. However in its draft environmental impact assessment, the State Department indicated that even if the president denies a permit to TransCanada to build the project, the oil in Alberta may be shipped to the U.S. by rail, leading to comparable emissions. So Obama’s final decision will largely depend on how his deputies crunch the numbers. 
Read more of that article here.

And from Politico:
If you were looking for live coverage of President Obama's big climate speech on Tuesday afternoon, your best bet was not CNN or MSNBC but The Weather Channel, which carried full coverage and post-game analysis.
The big three cable networks -- including MSNBC, which used to break for even the most familiar Obama stump speeches -- skipped most of the the president's speech, opting instead for coverage of the recent Supreme Court rulings (MSNBC), the Trayvon Martin trial and the Paula Deen controversy (CNN), and, in the case of Fox News, an interview with a climate change skeptic. 
Read the rest of that article here. 

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Monday, June 24, 2013

Ohio Rep. Hagan Wants a 7.5% Severance Tax on Fracked Oil & Gas

From The Record Courier:
A Democratic state lawmaker representing part of Ohio's burgeoning Utica Shale oilfields wants the state to increase taxes on fuel produced via horizontal hydraulic fracturing -- and use a big portion of the resulting proceeds to help eastern counties.
The general gist behind the new legislation offered by Rep. Bob Hagan (D-Youngstown) is not too different from past bills and amendments he's offered.
But Hagan's new legislation, HB 212, puts a new spin on the proposal. He wants the state to enact a 7.5 percent severance tax on oil and gas produced via fracking.
Of that total, 5 percent would go to local governments, mostly in eastern Ohio.
Another 1.5 percent would go to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to hire and train well inspectors and supplement other costs related to the drilling industry.
And the remaining 1 percent would go into a special trust fund, inaccessible to lawmakers until after 2020, for use in future economic development and other efforts.
Read the rest of the story here. 

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PDC Energy Announces Closing of Non-Core Colorado Natural Gas Asset Sale; Proceeds to Accelerate Development of Its Liquid-Rich Horizontal Programs in Core Wattenberg and Utica Shale

DENVERJune 19, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- PDC Energy, Inc. ("PDC" or the "Company") (Nasdaq:PDCE) today announced that it closed yesterday, June 18, 2013, on the previously disclosed sale of its non-core Colorado natural gas assets.

The Company's non-core Colorado assets were sold to Caerus Oil and Gas LLC for approximately $185 million in net proceeds, subject to customary post-closing adjustments. Under the purchase and sale agreement, the transaction was given economic effect as of January 1, 2013. The assets sold are approximately 99% natural gas in terms of reserves and include an estimated 85 billion cubic feet equivalent (Bcfe) of net proved developed producing reserves as of December 31, 2012. The assets produced approximately 40 million net cubic feet of natural gas equivalent per day in the first quarter of 2013.

James Trimble, President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, "We are very pleased to close this transaction and plan to redeploy the capital to develop our high-return, liquid-rich Wattenberg and Utica Shale horizontal drilling inventory. With the closing, we have completed another major milestone in our transition toward a more liquid-rich asset base. We expect our 2013 production mix to be approximately 54% liquids which is a significant change from 35% liquids in 2012. We expect to largely fund our 2013 capital program with the proceeds from the sale and internally generated cash flow."

About PDC Energy, Inc.

PDC Energy is a domestic independent energy company engaged in the exploration, development and production of crude oil, NGLs and natural gas. Its operations are focused primarily in the liquid-rich Wattenberg Field of Colorado, including the horizontal Niobrara and Codell plays, the Utica Shalein Ohio and the Marcellus Shale in West Virginia. PDC is included in the S&P SmallCap 600 Index and the Russell 3000 Index of Companies.

EPA Ridiculed For Handling of Pavillion, Wyoming Situation

From National Review Online:
In December 2011, the EPA released a draft report of a study it conducted in Wyoming, eliciting a furor of media attention. The New York Times reported that “chemicals used to hydraulically fracture rocks in drilling for natural gas in a remote valley in central Wyoming are the likely cause of contaminated local water supplies, federal regulators said.” The Financial Times ran a story headlined “EPA blames fracking for Wyoming pollution.” National Public Radio announced that “for the first time, federal environmental regulators have made a direct link between the controversial drilling practice known as hydraulic fracturing and groundwater contamination.” And the Salt Lake Tribune ran an editorial subtitled “EPA report shows water poisoned.”

In reality, the study conclusively proved no such thing. The research was fundamentally flawed, with the conclusion being derived less from science than from politics.
Read the whole article here.

Do you believe the EPA rushed to release a report based on shoddy science in order to negatively influence the public opinion on fracking?  Share your thoughts in the comments.

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New Duke Study Again Attempts to Link Drilling and Water Contamination; Industry Quick to Respond

Duke University takes another
stab at linking drilling to water
contamination
From eenews.net comes this report on a new study by Duke University which concludes that testing may show a link between drilling and contaminated water wells:
The team, which also includes researchers from the University of Rochester and California State Polytechnic University, sampled 81 new drinking water wells in six counties in northeastern Pennsylvania. It combined the data with results from 60 previously sampled wells in Pennsylvania and included a few wells in New York's Otsego County.
The researchers detected methane, the principal component of natural gas, in the drinking water of 82 percent of the 141 homes. Concentrations were six times higher in homes within a kilometer (about 3,300 feet) of natural gas wells, the study found.
Of 12 houses where the concentration of methane were greater than the federal threshold for immediate remediation, 11 homes were within the 3,300-foot radius. The only exception was a house 1.4 kilometers (4,600 feet) from a well.
Read the rest here.

Industry media arm Energy in Depth was quick to respond to the new study, which comes as a sequel to a 2011 study which also went to lengths in an attempt to provide a link between drilling and contamination but contained little of substance to support that idea.  Here is a portion of EID's response:
Here are the four most important things to know about the latest iteration of the Duke paper:
Fact 1: Methane in Water Wells Outside Drilling Proximity
The researchers found methane in 82 percent of the water wells they sampled. More than fifty of those wells – among the 141 total homes sampled – were nowhere near natural gas wells. That’s nearly equal to the number of homes that registered methane concentrations that were in proximity to such wells. At least one of those homes outside the researchers’ established proximity (one kilometer from a natural gas well) actually registered methane above the U.S. Department of the Interior’s remediation limit.
In other words: among the researchers’ samples, drinking water supplies that registered measurable methane concentrations were almost equally likely to be located either close to a natural gas well, or not close. Not exactly a smoking gun.
Read more here.

While those statements from EID are true, what they don't address in their response are the study's findings that methane concentrations were greater in closer proximity to drilling.

I'm sure there will be more back and forth over this study in the days and weeks to come.

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Friday, June 21, 2013

No Permit Reinstatement for Youngstown Company Connected to Illegal Dumping

From the Youngstown Vindicator:
In a 26-page ruling issued today, the Ohio Oil and Gas Commission denied D&L Energy’s request to have its permits permanently reinstated — essentially terminating its business in Ohio’s waste-disposal industry.
The ruling, which can be appealed in Franklin County Common Pleas Court, comes after nearly a month of deliberations among the commission’s members, which serve as an independent body of review for decisions made by the chief of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. 
Read the entire article here. 

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Does Flurry of Columbiana County Leasing Activity Mean That Flurry of Drilling is Imminent?

From the Salem News:
Fifty-one new oil and gas drilling leases recorded from May 8 to 24 were in Columbiana County with most of them in the northern part of the county.
There were 20 leases in Salem Township, 12 in Unity Township and five in Fairfield Township, representing the majority of leases signed.
All of the leases in Salem Township were with Chesapeake Exploration LLC, while four of the leases in Fairfield Township were with Chesapeake and one was with Atlas Noble LLC.
The article also includes an update on the natural gas processing plant in Kensington which was originally projected to be up and running last month:
"It seems to be what's going on is pipeline," [Columbiana County Engineer Bert Dawson] said, adding that M3 Midstream Energy natural gas processing and NGL refinery in Kensington is expected to come on line at the end of July. 
Read the whole article here.

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EPA Backs Away From Pavillion, WY Investigation; Will Not Have Controversial Draft Report Peer-Reviewed

From an EPA press release:
In 2009, at the request of citizens living outside of Pavillion who reported objectionable taste and odor in their well water, EPA began working with the State of Wyoming and the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone Tribes to identify the source and extent of impacts on domestic well water quality. To date, after five phases of sampling, EPA’s domestic water well sampling results have documented constituents of concern; however a source of those constituents has not been determined. EPA efforts to evaluate potential migration pathways from deeper gas production zones to shallower domestic water wells in the Pavillion gas field are inconclusive.
Wyoming, through the WOGCC and the WDEQ will conduct a comprehensive review of all relevant data and initiate an additional science-based investigation. The sampling data obtained throughout EPA’s groundwater investigation will be considered in Wyoming’s further investigation. The WOGCC and WDEQ will retain the services of an independent expert or experts to assist staff with the reviews, investigations, analyses and preparation of final reports. EPA and Encana Oil and Gas (USA) Inc. will have the opportunity to provide input to the State of Wyoming and recommend third-party experts for the State’s consideration.
While EPA stands behind its work and data, the agency recognizes the State of Wyoming’s commitment for further investigation and efforts to provide clean water and does not plan to finalize or seek peer review of its draft Pavillion groundwater report released in December, 2011. Nor does the agency plan to rely upon the conclusions in the draft report. EPA is conducting a major research program on the relationship between hydraulic fracturing and drinking water in different areas of the country and will release a draft report in late 2014. EPA will look to the results of that national program as the basis for its scientific conclusions and recommendations on hydraulic fracturing.
Read the whole release here. 

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Important Home Rule Case to be Heard by Ohio Supreme Court

In a case that has been watched closely by pro-drilling and anti-drilling interests alike, the battle between the city of Munroe Falls and Beck Energy will now be headed to the Ohio Supreme Court.

From the Akron Beacon Journal:
The Ohio Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case from Summit County on whether local governments have any say in gas-oil drilling, according to the People's Oil and Gas Collaborative, a grass-roots group that has been following the case..
The case — it is being watched closely across Ohio by both sides — involves the city of Munroe Falls and Ravenna-based Beck Energy Corp.
The key question is whether oil and gas well drillers must follow city ordinances or whether state control takes precedence over local home rule.
Read the rest of the article here. 

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Over 100 Pipelines Being Built or Planned in Ohio

From the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio comes this graphic showing the number of pipelines that can be expected all over Ohio.



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Law Firm Develops Chart of Key Considerations When Considering Right of Way Agreement



In related news, Farm and Dairy has an article about the pipeline activity in Ohio which includes some tips for landowners as well.  What follows is an excerpt, while the whole article can be viewed by clicking here.
Peggy Kirk Hall, director of Ohio State University Extension’s Agricultural and Resource Law Program, suggested landowners refrain from signing anything when first approached about a pipeline easement.
Hall reminded landowners that they have time, no matter what a landman tells them. 
Walk the line. She encourages landowners to take the time and walk the property with the landman trying to obtain the easement.
Hall said landowners should consider who will be responsible for the upkeep of the line and if landowners will get reimbursed if the company has to come in and dig the land up again to take care of the pipeline.

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