Monday, September 30, 2013

Economist Says Ohio Gas Boom Hasn't Even Really Happened Yet

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
It's been two years since former Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon said shale gas would be the biggest thing here since the plow -- and two years since Gov. John Kasich's energy summit promised thousands of jobs. 
But real jobs have been difficult to count. Now comes the truth. 
"The gas boom is not here yet," economist Iryna Lendel, assistant director of Center for Economic Development at Cleveland State's Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs, told a crowded lecture hall Tuesday morning at the John S. Knight Convention Center. 
"We are a very young player in this game," Lendel told an audience attending the 8th annual energy conference sponsored by the Manufacturers' Education Council, COSE, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and the Industrial Energy Users of Ohio.
Read the entire article by clicking here. 

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No Injuries in Carroll County Drilling Site Fire

From The Times-Reporter:
No one was injured as firefighters from four departments responded to a fire that spread to the well head of an oil and gas drilling site near Carrollton on Friday night. 
The fire was reported at 8:11 p.m. as a petroleum tanker truck on fire.
Carrollton Village Fire Chief Tom Mesler said at about 9:30 p.m. that firefighters had to pull back from the area for safety reasons because of the intensity of the flames and potential for an explosion. 
Firefighters from the Carrollton Village, Carroll County and Fox and Augusta townships departments responded to the site off of Brussell Road, off state Route 9, a few miles north of Carrollton. It is called the Brice well.
Read the whole article here.

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Water Problems = Another Lawsuit in Pennsylvania

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Two years after residents of the Woodlands in Butler County began complaining that shale drilling was contaminating their well water, the gas company they believe is a culprit may be the community's best hope for a clean water pipeline. 
At least that's how Butler County Commissioner Jim Eckstein sees it. 
Mr. Eckstein is leading the charge to establish a homeowners association in the Woodlands, a low-income community of about 200 homes, 50 of which told Duquesne University professor John Stolz that their water has changed following Rex Energy Corp.'s drilling activity in the area. 
Thirty-four families now pick up drinking water from a donated water bank at White Oak Springs Presbyterian Church each Monday, while they wait for a more permanent solution. 
Mr. Eckstein says the solution is to tap into a water pipeline that was built by State College-based Rex Energy to supply water for its fracking activities.
Read the entire article here.

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Carroll County Not Selling Percentage of Royalties Yet; Will Take Bids

From the Carrollton Free Press Standard:
A quarter interest of Carrollton Village’s 20 percent of future gas and oil royalties is up for grabs. 
At the Monday village council meeting, Mayor Frank Leghart said he wanted to clear things up regarding the offer from Gateway Royalty to purchase a quarter interest of the village’s future gas and oil royalties.  
Council agreed at the Aug. 26 meeting to sell the royalty percentage for $555,000 to Gateway Royalty, Inc.  Village Solicitor Clark Battista was to work on the verbal details. 
However, with a motion approved but no contract signed, Leghart said Monday, Battista advised him it would be in the best interest for the village to advertise for bids. According to the Ohio Revised Code, selling future royalties is a gray area.  The sale of specific assets, such as the mineral rights, is required by law to be put up for bid.  However royalties are considered revenue and the statute is not clear on the sale.  Village officials feel it is “safer” to place the percentage of future royalties up for bid to avoid the possibility of questions regarding the sale in the future.
Read the whole article here. 

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New Assistant Economic Development Director for Carroll County

From the Canton Repository:
Looking to increase marketing of available business sites, Carroll County commissioners filled a newly created position of assistant economic development director. 
Tana McClelland begins her $31,000-a-year job Oct. 7. 
“With everything going on with oil and gas in Carroll County, there is a lot of industry in commercial and manufacturing  wanting to come,” said Aaron Dodds, director of Carroll County’s Economic Development Department. 
Carroll County, within the Utica Shale, has attracted significant interest and exploration from companies seeking to extract petroleum products. 
County commissioners hired McClelland this week. She is a Kent State University graduate.
Read the whole article here. 

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

New Anti-Drilling Organization Report: Oil & Gas Workers Bring Sexually Transmitted Diseases & Disorderly Conduct to Communities

Press release from Food & Water Watch:

New Food & Water Watch Analysis Reveals the Hidden Social Costs of Fracking

Increased Heavy Truck Accidents, Disorderly Conduct Arrests and Sexually Transmitted Infections Undermine Quality of Life in Fracked Rural Communities

Washington, D.C.—New analysis released today by the national advocacy organization Food & Water Watch shows that oil and gas drilling using hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is associated with increased incidence of traffic accidents, disorderly conduct arrests and sexually transmitted infections in rural communities. The Social Costs of Fracking: A Pennsylvania Case Study found that once fracking began in 2005, these social indicators worsened in counties with fracked natural gas wells, and the trends were especially pronounced in the rural counties with the highest density of fracked wells.

“We need clean energy jobs that are good for communities, workers and the environment, but fracking isn’t going to get us there,” said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. “The social costs of fracking aren’t just costing the communities where fracking is occurring. They’re affecting the laborers as well. Oil and gas industry workers and America deserve better.”

The new analysis adds context to the fracking debate, and is the first longitudinal examination of the social costs of fracking in rural communities. Food & Water Watch compared a decade of annual, county-level data for key quality of life indicators including traffic accidents (heavy-truck accidents), civic disturbances (disorderly conduct arrests) and public health (total number of gonorrhea and chlamydia cases) in Pennsylvania’s rural unfracked counties, all fracked counties and the eight most fracked counties with at least one well per 15 square miles. Findings included:

  • Once fracking began in 2005, heavy truck crashes increased 7.2 percent in the rural Pennsylvania counties with the heaviest density of fracking compared to a 12.4 percent decline in unfracked rural counties;
  • Disorderly conduct arrests increased 17.1 percent in the most heavily fracked rural counties, one-third more than the 12.7 percent increase in unfracked counties; 
  • The number of chlamydia and gonorrhea cases increased 32.4 percent in heavily fracked counties, 62 percent more than the 20.1 percent increase in unfracked rural counties. 

According to Food & Water Watch, these fracking-associated social costs further demonstrate the shortsighted nature of U.S. investment in expanded fossil fuel extraction. The results also are consistent with academic literature demonstrating the negative community impacts from oil and coal boomtowns that sprang up in the wake of the energy crisis in the 1970s. It also supports extensive anecdotal evidence from community leaders and media reports that the rise in fracking has also delivered tangible harms to rural quality of life.

Although fracking has expanded rapidly across the United States in the past decade, Pennsylvania has been at the epicenter of this trend, and of the nearly 5,000 new shale gas wells drilled there between 2005 and 2011, four out of five were located in rural counties. Although much of the debate around fracking has focused on obvious environmental risks such as air pollution and water contamination, policymakers have largely ignored the significant social effects of fracking on rural populations.

The social costs identified in this study have real economic impacts on rural communities. Traffic accidents and public disorder arrests associated with fracking cost counties and municipalities with already stretched finances. Responding to fracking-related emergencies also diverts first responders from other emergencies.

The report recommends enacting aggressive policies to reduce energy demand, including investing in public transportation, community planning and the deployment of truly efficient energy solutions; establishing ambitious renewable energy programs for deploying and incentivizing technologies such as wind and solar power; and implementing a national ban on fracking.

“The considerable social costs of fracking, and the associated environmental and economic ones, add to the mounting evidence that fracked gas is not a viable, sustainable, long-term energy solution,” said Hauter. “Communities must take these factors into consideration when considering approving new projects.”

Download The Social Costs of Fracking: A Pennsylvania Case Study here.

Contact: Kate Fried, Food & Water Watch, (202) 683-2500, kfried(at)fwwatch(dot)org.
Food & Water Watch works to ensure the food, water and fish we consume is safe, accessible and sustainable. So we can all enjoy and trust in what we eat and drink, we help people take charge of where their food comes from, keep clean, affordable, public tap water flowing freely to our homes, protect the environmental quality of oceans, force government to do its job protecting citizens, and educate about the importance of keeping shared resources under public control.

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Reuters Reports on Possible Conflict of Interest With Former Gulfport Energy Chairman

From Reuters:
Gulfport Energy Corp (GPOR.O), a publicly-traded oil and gas company based in Oklahoma City, allowed its former chairman to receive millions of dollars in equity interests at no cost in more than a dozen firms that have done business with Gulfport.
The equity stakes awarded to Mike Liddell, who stepped down as Gulfport chairman in June, were granted by Wexford Capital LP as part of an uncommon arrangement. While working for Gulfport, Liddell also served as an advisor for energy investments by Wexford, a $4.3 billion Connecticut investment firm.
In response to questions from Reuters about Liddell's dual roles, Gulfport said all "material terms" of Liddell's equity stakes had been disclosed to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Gulfport appears to be in compliance with SEC disclosure requirements, said three corporate-governance specialists who reviewed Gulfport's SEC filings and its responses to Reuters.
The stakes awarded to Liddell in companies that do business with Gulfport could nonetheless create the risk of a conflict of interest, the governance specialists said, because the deals could benefit Liddell at the expense of Gulfport shareholders. They said the company could have provided a fuller understanding of the relationship between Liddell and the Connecticut investment firm.
Read the whole article here.

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Utica Shale Permit Count Pushes to 899 With 12 New Last Week

The latest permitting roundup from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has been released.  After issuing only 2 permits the week of September 8-14, things picked back up last week, with 12 new permits.

The busiest spot was once again Carroll County, as 5 of the 12 permits were issued for wells in Carroll's Union and Washington townships.  3 permits were for Harrison County, while Guernsey, Columbiana, Monroe and Washington counties each saw 1 new permit last week.

The cumulative total of permits for horizontal drilling in the Utica shale is now 899, with 561 wells drilled and 152 producing.  The Utica rig count is 34.

View the report here.

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Links for 9/24/13: Rebublic Steel Growth Driven by Shale, New Study Attempts to Poke Holes in Many Fracktivist Claims, and More

Daily Jeffersonian:  Noble Co. Chamber hosts luncheon about gas/drilling industry drilling update

Canton Repository:  Republic Steel steps up to meet demand

Forbes:  Colorado's Ambulance Chasing Fracktivists

OOGA:  Common Cause Cries Foul, Lacks Facts to Support Claims

Energy in Depth:  Univ. of Michigan Study Confirms Safety of Hydraulic Fracturing

Graham Sustainability Institute:  Hydraulic Fracturing - Technical Reports and Integrated Assessment Comments (view the reports referenced in the Energy in Depth article on the U of M study above)

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Another Natural Gas Processing Plant Planned For Ohio

From WFMJ News:
A Houston based company plans to construct a facility near Lake Erie that will convert natural gas to liquids.
According to a news release, Pinto Energy LLC plans to build a 2,800 barrel per day (bpd) plant on the company's 80-acre industrial site east of Ashtabula, Ohio.
It will convert abundant low-cost natural gas from the Utica and Marcellus shale region, into high value specialty products, such as solvents, lubricants and waxes, as well as ultra clean transportation fuels.
The news release says that the state of the art GTL facility will create 30 new, direct, well-paying jobs, 400 temporary construction jobs, as well as result in the creation of an estimated 112 indirect jobs, to give a total of 542 local jobs.
Pinto recently filed the project's air and water permits, and is in discussions with regional economic authorities for further local support.
Read the entire article right here. 

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Leaseholders Urged to Give Attention to Chesapeake Settlement

From StateImpact Pennsylvania:
A group representing Pennsylvania mineral owners says Chesapeake Energy leaseholders should pay very close attention to news of a recent $7.5 million class action settlement.
The agreement still needs to be approved by a federal judge, but if that happens, letters alerting landowners will be mailed throughout the state.
The deal could affect more than 1,000 Chesapeake leaseholders.
Anyone who ignores the letter will be automatically made part of the class and gives up the right to pursue future royalty claims against Chesapeake.
Read the whole article here. 

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Links for 9/23/13: More Sparring Over Methane Study, New Injection Well to Be Drilled in Weathersfield, and Much More

Youngstown Vindicator:  State and drilling company to monitor Weathersfield injection well

Shale Reporter:  Westmoreland County, Pa. to audit gas royalties

The Breakthrough Institute:  Gas Industry Should Embrace Regulation

Youngstown Vindicator:  Scientists seek sites to pump fracking wastes

Shale Reporter:  Agency reports land disturbance from gas development

Via Meadia:  Study Gives Fracking Green Bill of Health

The Barrel Blog:  Fracking fans and foes trade jabs on latest study

Youngstown Vindicator:  Oil, gas case heading to Ohio top court will spotlight local control

Forbes:  University of Texas-Environmental Defense Fund Shale Gas Study Unmasks Politics of Anti-Fracking Activist Cornell Scientists

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Editorial: With Proper Attention to Minimizing Risk, Fracking is Worth the Reward

From The Columbus Dispatch:
When a former U.S. energy secretary tells a Columbus audience that hydraulic fracturing to extract oil and natural gas from shale formations can be done in a clean, safe way, that it’s all a matter of fixing errors in the process, that should inspire confidence.
And that’s obviously great news for Ohio, which has started to benefit economically from advances in this extraction process. Because of the newly accessible supply of natural gas, consumers have seen the cost come down after spiking in 2008, and prices could stay in the current range for decades.
Steven Chu, energy secretary under President Barack Obama from 2009 until this past April and now a Stanford University physics professor, was the keynote speaker on Tuesday at a conference by America’s Natural Gas Alliance. He called it a “false choice” to say that the U.S. has to choose between the environment and inexpensive natural gas.
He said about a study out of Cornell University that warns of methane leakage from gas production, which is commonly cited by groups that oppose “fracking”: “We didn’t think it was credible. I’ll just put it that way.”
The enormous promise of fracking can be realized, as long as thoughtful safety and environmental rules are in place: “You can have your cake and eat it, too.”
Read the whole editorial here. 

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Fire Chiefs Go on Record to Say Environmentalist Claims About Fracking Chemical Disclosure Are Not Accurate

From Ohio Fire Chiefs' Association:

First Responders Have Access to Necessary Chemical Information

On behalf of the Ohio Fire Chiefs’ Association, I respond to an article that appeared on Bob Downing’s Ohio Utica Shale blog on September 13. The article referenced a forum being hosted in Bowling Green for the community and first responders claiming that the oil and gas industry is exempt fromthe federal Emergency Planning Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA).

On any given day, a first responder in Ohio could be called to an incident that may include a leak or spill of some chemical substance at an emergency location. The priority for all first responders is to first ensure their personal safety and the safety of others directly involved with the incident, including the surrounding inhabitants. To meet that obligation, Ohio first responders are trained to react to all such incidents using a standardized approach, whether the chemical is used to process drinking water, keep a swimming pool safe, preserve milk and other food products, or used in the exploration, drilling, and production of natural gas and crude oil. The idea that a first responder would not have the information necessary to properly respond with respect to those chemicals – which some environmental groups would have you believe – is simply not true.

The fact is first responders have ready access to that information, even remotely when necessary. Among the tools first responders have available are:

· CHEMTREC, a resource call center established by the American Chemistry Council in 1971, which is open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day to request assistance with a spill or leak. CHEMTREC maintains a database of 4 million plus safety data sheets to assist first responders, as well as a database for specialized spill response companies, and access to MEDTREC, which is staffed by physicians and toxicologists to provide guidance on how to treat patients exposed to leaking or spilled hazardous materials.

· The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Oil and Gas Resource Management website, which provides a link to safety data sheets, listed by company, for all chemicals used in the exploration, drilling, and production of natural gas and crude oil in Ohio.

· And the U. S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration Emergency Response Guidebook, which is one of the most highly-regarded tools for assisting all first responders. It contains specific color coded guides which correspond with essential information needed to handle a situation early on.

First responders in Ohio also have available to them resources from the Ohio Fire Chiefs Emergency Response System, county and state Emergency Management Agencies, Ohio EPA, and other emergency agencies. Moreover, over 1,000 local Ohio firefighters, along with firefighters from seven other states, have received training from the country’s first oilfield firefighter training program, created by the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program just for these circumstances: Responding to Oilfield Emergencies.

Nor is it true that first responders cannot access information on “trade secret” chemicals used in the exploration, drilling, and production of natural gas and crude oil. The “trade secret” is only the “recipe” used by specific companies, and does not exempt companies from identifying the chemicals used in their operations under state and federal laws when necessary to protect human health. Ohio statutory changes in SB 315, for example, expressly require chemical disclosures to first responders in order to treat people impacted by an incident at an oil and gas site – even where the chemical might otherwise have “trade secret” protection.

The fact is, the chemicals used in the exploration, drilling and production of natural gas and crude oil consist of many of the same compounds we use in our everyday lives. They include sodium chloride, otherwise known as table salt; ethylene glycol, commonly used in water based paints, drywall, and household cleaners,borate salts, which are used in cosmetics; sodium potassium carbonate, which we see in detergents; guar gum, which we eat in ice cream; and isopropanol, which we use in deodorant. And even where the chemicals used in the oil and gas industry are not regulated because they are not considered hazardous, we have access to safety data sheets for them.

Ohio’s natural gas and crude oil industry has invested heavily in educating and training first responders how to safely and responsibly react in the event of a spill or leak at an oil and gas site, and to provide specialty resources when needed for safe and efficient operations to respond when necessary (to date, more than $2 million). With that assistance, and their own specialized training, hard work, and dedication, Ohio’s first responders stand ready to assist when the call comes.

Brent Gates – Director at Large

Ohio Fire Chiefs’ Association

Board of Director
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Athens Anti-Fracking Measure Won't See Ballot

Environmentalists' effort for a
ban get shot down in Athens
From the Associated Press:
ATHENS, OHIO: The fall ballot in one southeastern Ohio city won’t include an initiative seeking to ban the controversial high-pressure oil and gas drilling technique of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. 
The Athens County Board of Elections rejected the ballot initiative without elaborating, and supporters of the proposal tell the Athens Messenger it’s too late to make the Nov. 5 ballot.
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Pipelines Keeping the Money Flowing

From FuelFix:
Pipeline operators have been roaring into public markets in search of badly needed capital, diving into an untapped money pool as the country grapples with a lack of energy transportation infrastructure. 
Yield-starved investors, bouncing from low interest rates on bonds to a choppy stock market, have appeared happy to fork over the millions that midstream companies — most of them tax-advantaged master limited partnerships — have asked for in the past year. 
And based on the market’s momentum, the industry could see five to 10 more similar public offerings announced before the year is out, said Joe Dunleavy, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Houston. 
“It’s a very active and frothy market, and there’s a lot of chatter; I’ve had several phone calls on it — today,” Dunleavy said. “There’s a great need for infrastructure development. A lot of the pipelines were built for World War II, and there’s a need for repair.”
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Friday, September 20, 2013

Sierra Club Files Lawsuit to Gain Access to Documents Related to Youngstown Illegal Dumping Investigation

From the Associated Press:
An environmental group seeking documents related to alleged illegal dumping of wastewater from oil and gas drilling into a northeast Ohio storm sewer is suing the state for access to the records.
The Sierra Club filed its suit Monday in the Ohio Supreme Court. The group alleges the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has failed to produce public records it requested six months ago.
The club’s Ohio chapter is seeking documents related to the department’s investigation of D & L Energy and Hardrock Excavating in Youngstown.
The department revoked the firms' permits in February amid a federal investigation into the dumping of wastewater from hydraulic racturing into a storm sewer that drains into the Mahoning River.
A spokeswoman said the department does not comment on pending litigation.

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Blue Racer Ponders Cryogenic Processing Plant Construction in Mahoning County

From Business Journal Daily:
Within the next year, Blue Racer Midstream should know whether a business case exists to construct a new cryogenic processing plant in Petersburg, Breon reports. The general site in southeastern Mahoning County is less than 10 miles from where a $150 million processing plant operated by Pennant Midstream LLC, a joint venture between NiSource Transmission and Hilcorp Energy Co., is under construction in Springfield Township.
The Pennant Midstream plant, as well as M3 Midstream’s larger scale complex that recently came online in Kensington, Columbiana County, separates “dry” gas from “wet” gas that is piped from wells in the region. The dry gas – in this case, methane – is transmitted to lines such as Dominion’s. The natural gas liquids are then sent to fractionation plants that separate it into products used to make ethane, propane and butane.
“There’s a reason why NiSource looked at [southeast Mahoning County.] There’s a reason we’re looking at it. There’s a reason Williams has announced looking at something here as well,” Breon says.
Methane gas leftover after liquid hydrocarbons are extracted also needs somewhere to go, and the Petersburg site offers two or three pipeline outlets that producers can tie into. “It gives them options,” he says.
Ultimately, a decision on the Petersburg plant depends on whether Blue Racer can secure enough producer contracts in northeastern Ohio and northwestern Pennsylvania to warrant such a huge investment, Breon says.
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Energy in Depth Responds to Niles Fracking Ban and Rescindment

From Energy in Depth:
Over the past month, the Niles City Council has been dealing with buyer’s remorse since it was misled into passing an ill-advised community “bill of rights.” The measure was drafted and delivered to them by the Sierra Club and Community Environmental Legal Defense fund, with the intent to ban oil and gas development in the city.  To its credit, however, once it realized its mistake, the Niles City Council didn’t wait long to get itself up to speed on the facts.
Following presentations by the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program (OOGEEP) and Energy In Depth, the Niles City Council gained a much better understanding of the history and execution of oil and gas development in Ohio. They also got a firsthand look at some of the pitfalls that the so called “bill of rights” resolution sought to place upon the city. Gamely, activists continued to push the Council to retain its ban on development, notwithstanding that the factual foundation upon which most of their claims were based had been severely eroded.
The result: On Wednesday, the City Council voted unanimously to rescind the community “bill of rights” measure it previously passed. The decision sends an unambiguous message that Niles is open for business and interested in partnering with companies that develop and deliver oil and gas resources safely and responsibly. And it also serves as a cautionary tale for other local municipalities that, were it not for the Niles experience, may have fallen victim to the same scam.
The article goes on to list five takeaways from this story.  Read about them by clicking here.

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Links for 9/19/13: No Big Contamination Problems Found So Far in Colorado Oil & Gas Field Floods, Despite Alarmist Reports - And More

The Hill:  Halliburton pleads guilty to destroying evidence in aftermath of BP oil spill

Rolling Stone:  Flooding and Fracking in Colorado: Double Disaster (despite the alarmist headline, the article states that the EPA has searched for contamination from flooding of drill sites or pipelines and has not found anything significant)

Shale Reporter:  Youngstown debates a ban on fracking

Forbes:  The Media and the UT/EDF Methane Study: Job Well Done

CNN Money:  The world's next fracking hot spots

The Athens News:  Shale drilling moving steadily closer to Athens County

E&E:  Local control is an issue as Utica Shale drilling ramps up

Akron Beacon Journal:  Chesapeake Energy CEO says more layoffs are possible

StateImpact Pennsylvania:  Gas Industry Survey Contradicts Claims Of Widespread Drug Use

Fuel Fix:  LNG fuels consortium to build plants in Texas, other states (including Ohio)

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Landman Who Ripped Off Pennsylvania Landowners Pleads Guilty

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
William J. Ray, 29, of Monroeville, pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and could face about three years in prison under federal guidelines when he is sentenced on Jan. 10. 
Mr. Ray's accused business partner, Derek A. Candelore, 33, of Jeannette, has pleaded not guilty to similar charges. The two were "landmen," securing drilling leases for sale to firms working in the Marcellus Shale. 
According to assistant U.S. attorney Nelson Cohen, the two wrote up and filed false deeds and forged the signatures of property owners, transferring mineral rights to "bogus companies" they created. 
"They thereafter sold and leased the mineral rights to Range Resources" and other companies, he said.
Read the entire article by clicking here.

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Niles Council Rescinds Anti-Fracking Ordinance One Month After Passing It

From the Youngstown Vindicator:
City council unani- mously repealed its ordinance banning oil and gas drilling in the city limits before a council chamber packed with anti-drilling advocates pleading for council to keep the ban and labor unions encouraging its repeal. 
“The oil and gas industry has put money in our pockets, and we support economic development,” Don Crane, president of the Western Reserve Building and Construction Trades Council said at Wednesday night’s meeting. “You don’t want to scare off companies.” 
Council had passed the ordinance, known as the “Community Bill of Rights,” Aug. 21 after learning about possible plans for a hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, operation in a Robbins Avenue neighborhood. 
Council members, however, began changing their minds after hearing from industry representatives that the neighborhoods did not contain sufficient acreage to set up a well for shale drilling.
Read the whole article here. 

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Links for 9/18/13: Lots of Pipeline Plans in Ohio, Environmentalists Seem Eager for an Oil/Gas-Related Disaster in Colorado, and More

CNN Money:  Colorado flooding may unleash fracking fluids  (the most interesting takeaways I found in this article: there is currently no tangible evidence that supports the assertion in the headline, and the environmentalists quoted seem excited that these floods are happening because they hope it will give them ammo in their fight against drilling)

Energy in Depth:  Former Obama Energy Secretary Touts Safe Shale Development

The Barrel Blog:  Sign of the times: Chesapeake lays off NGV development team

The Youngstown Vindicator:  Utica Shale Conference Focuses on Moving Forward

Columbus Business First:  Utica shale report by Benesch finds 133 pipeline projects in eastern Ohio as companies scramble to set up infrastructure

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Back and Forth Over New Methane Study Continues

We mentioned a new study earlier this week which contained many interesting findings from a study of methane emissions at 150 drilling sites.  Here is the original post, to give you the background.

To gain even more insight into the study, click here.  This is an essential resource in increasing understanding of the study, as it contains the FAQ posted by the Environmental Defense Fund.

Now, more reaction continues to pour out from various outlets.

From Forbes:
First, the researchers did find significant leakage, but at other points than the wells, most notably in the gas-water separation process.  This highlights the fact that methane leakage is important and needs to be addressed, but independently of the question of hydraulic fracturing.  The natural gas supply chain is long and some parts of it, such as urban distribution systems, are thought to be possible sources of significant leakage.  In all likelihood, the Power Law applies, wherein most leakage comes from a small portion of sources.
Next , many correctly have pointed out that the study is somewhat limited, as the authors admit, covering only a small number of wells owned by companies that volunteered to be part of the research.  This is a valid point, although usually overlooked by fracking critics when applied to studies whose results they prefer.  But it only means that, as with any study, the results are not necessarily universally applicable.
And following on from this is the bias in some analysts who, first of all, dismiss the results out of hand and attack the involvement of some producing companies as invalidating any findings, but more generally show a refusal to accept any results they dislike.  Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy dismisses the study as “fatally flawed” in part because it contradicts other findings.   This is not the stance of scientists, but ideologues.   Indeed, Philip Radford of Greenpeace primarily rants against the industry and methane.  He, too, attacks the findings for disagreeing with a recent NOAA study that found much higher levels in a field in Utah, but doesn’t note that the measurements were done on a single day, which would also seem to be limiting.
You can read the rest of that article here.

Forbes has more to say about the comparison between this new study and the famous (or infamous, depending on your viewpoint) 2011 Cornell report on methane emissions in another article, which you can view here.

Anti-drilling site DeSmogBlog had this to say:
Alongside releasing its controversial findings on fugitive methane emissionscaused by hydraulic fracturing ("fracking")on September 16, University of Texas-Austin also unveiled an industry-stacked Steering Committee roster for the study it conducted in concert with Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).
Stacked with former and current oil industry lobbyists, policy professionals and business executives, the Steering Committee is proof positive of the conflicts of interest evident in the roster of people and funding behind the "frackademia" study.
Only two out of the 11 members of the Steering Committee besides lead author and UT-Austin Professor David Allen have a science background relevant to onshore fracking. 
That study found fugitive methane emissions at the well pad to be 2%-4% lower than discovered by the non-industry funded groundbreaking April 2011 Cornell University study co-authored by Anthony Ingraffea and Robert Howarth.
Read that whole article here. 

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Bowling Green Passes Fracking Ban

From the Toledo Blade:
By a 7-0 vote, the Bowling Green City Council on Monday night approved an ordinance that bans fracking and disposal of fracking waste fluids in the city limits.
Now the question becomes how strong the action would be if it is ever challenged in court.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources claims it maintains legal authority to issue all drilling permits throughout the state, even in cities that pass ordinances to ban the activity.
But Bowling Green City Attorney Michael Marsh, in a Sept. 4 letter to council members, said he wrote the ordinance to be a part of the city’s criminal code, not its zoning code.
“It is an exercise of our police powers,” Mr. Marsh wrote. “The same tack was taken by us several years ago when we were the first city in Ohio to regulate cigarette and cigar smoking in certain facilities. Smoking at that time was also a ‘legal’ activity and was heavily regulated by the state of Ohio. Our ordinance was challenged, and it was upheld, as a reasonable exercise of our police power, and since it did not conflict with the state criminal code, there was no pre-emption argument to overcome."
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New Report Says Benefits of Marcellus and Utica Shale Boom Are Huge for Consumers

From the Akron Beacon Journal:
The Utica and Marcellus shales are poised to produce significant volumes of natural gas that can benefit utilities and manufacturers in the Midwest and the Northeast, according to a new report.
Bentek Energy, the Colorado-based energy market analytics company, says continued development of Utica and Marcellus natural gas and a rapidly growing infrastructure to transport the gas will result in “substantial opportunity” for natural gas users in Ohio, Pennsylvania and the Northeast United States, said spokesman Justin Carlson. He added that more than 16 billion cubic feet per day of pipeline capacity is under construction or planned in the two states.
The two shales are capable of producing enough natural gas to power electric-producing power plants now fueled with coal and other large customers, he told 250 people on Tuesday at the Think About Energy Summit sponsored by America’s Natural Gas Alliance, a national trade group.
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Rutledge Shares Impact of Utica Shale Boom on Carroll County

From Columbus Business First:
Rutledge said some landowners have cashed in big time, pointing to an analysis by a couple banks in Carroll County that found about 200 property owners became instant millionaires from bonuses they received for signing lease agreements with oil and natural companies. That’s in a county with fewer than 30,000 people.
Many of the new millionaires are farmers who have been land rich but cash poor for much of their working lives.
“These are guys who have been scraping that ground and trying to turn it into something for years,” Rutledge said.
She also said Carroll County’s piggyback sales tax generated an additional $1 million in 2012 compared with the prior year, and it’s on pace for another increase of $500,000 this year. The county has used the extra cash to cover cuts in state and federal funding as well as provide funds to help the sheriff’s department handle more calls tied to traffic and noise from drilling operations.
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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Gulfport Energy Corporation Reports Utica Shale Results

OKLAHOMA CITY, Sept. 17, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Gulfport Energy Corporation (Nasdaq:GPOR) today announced production results on its Wagner 3-28H, Clay 3-4H, and Lyon 3-27H wells in the Utica Shale.

Utica Shale

  • Gulfport's Wagner 3-28H well was recently placed on production in the Utica Shale. The Wagner 3-28H produced at an average seven-day sales rate of 9.7 million cubic feet ("MMCF") per day of natural gas, 214 barrels of condensate per day and 1,067 barrels of natural gas liquids ("NGLs") per day assuming full ethane recovery and a natural gas shrink of 18%, or 2,607 barrels of oil equivalent ("BOE") per day.

  • Gulfport's Clay 3-4H well was recently placed on production in the Utica Shale. The Clay 3-4H produced at an average seven-day sales rate of 2.5 MMCF per day of natural gas, 392 barrels of condensate per day and 323 barrels of NGLs per day assuming full ethane recovery and a natural gas shrink of 27%, or 1,019 BOE per day.

  • Gulfport's Lyon 3-27H well was recently placed on production in the Utica Shale. The Lyon 3-27H produced at an average seven-day sales rate of 2.0 MMCF per day of natural gas, 477 barrels of condensate per day and 274 barrels of NGLs per day assuming full ethane recovery and a natural gas shrink of 21%, or 1,014 BOE per day.

Gulfport recently began flowing into sales pipelines its Wagner 3-28H, Clay 3-4H and Lyon 3-27H wells in the Utica Shale. The Wagner 3-28H was drilled to a true vertical depth of 8,535 feet with a 6,867 foot horizontal lateral. The well's completion design included a slickwater frac with minimal use of linear gels. Following the well's completion with no resting period, the well was placed on production at an average gross seven-day sales rate of 9.7 MMCF of natural gas per day and 214 barrels of condensate per day. Based upon composition analysis, the gas being produced is 1,214 BTU gas. Assuming full ethane recovery, the composition above is expected to produce an additional 110 barrels of NGLs per MMCF of natural gas and result in a natural gas shrink of 18%. In ethane rejection mode, the composition is expected to yield 41 barrels of NGLs per MMCF of natural gas and result in a natural gas shrink of 8%.

The Clay 3-4H was drilled to a true vertical depth of 7,932 feet with a 6,715 foot horizontal lateral. The well's completion design included a slickwater frac with minimal use of linear gels. Following the well's completion with no resting period, the well was placed on production at an average gross seven-day sales rate of 2.5 MMCF of natural gas per day and 392 barrels of condensate per day. Based upon composition analysis, the gas being produced is 1,258 BTU gas. Assuming full ethane recovery, the composition above is expected to produce an additional 129 barrels of NGLs per MMCF of natural gas and result in a natural gas shrink of 27%. In ethane rejection mode, the composition is expected to yield 55 barrels of NGLs per MMCF of natural gas and result in a natural gas shrink of 14%.

The Lyon 3-27H was drilled to a true vertical depth of 7,459 feet with a 7,004 foot horizontal lateral. The well's completion design included a linear gel frac with no use of crosslink gels. Following the well's completion with no resting period, the well was placed on production at an average gross seven-day sales rate of 2.0 MMCF of natural gas per day and 477 barrels of condensate per day. Based upon composition analysis, the gas being produced is 1,271 BTU gas. Assuming full ethane recovery, the composition above is expected to produce an additional 137 barrels of NGLs per MMCF of natural gas and result in a natural gas shrink of 21%. In ethane rejection mode, the composition is expected to yield 61 barrels of NGLs per MMCF of natural gas and result in a natural gas shrink of 8%.

About Gulfport

Only 5 New Permits Issued for Utica Shale Drilling Last Week

Last week was another slow one for Utica shale permitting, according to the latest report from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Only 5 new permits for horizontal drilling in the Utica shale were issued.  4 of those permits were for Monroe County, while the other one was for Guernsey County.

The activity last week brings the total number of permits to 887.  The number of wells drilled is 557, and 153 are producing.  The Utica rig count is down to 30.

View the full report here.

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