Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Decision on Belmont County Cracker Plant Gets Delayed Again

From the Columbus Dispatch:
Belmont County leaders are going to need to wait a little while longer to know if a giant petrochemical plant is coming. 
Developers of a proposed multibillion-dollar “cracker” plant, which may be the largest economic-development prospect in the state, said on Thursday that they will “have a significant update that will demonstrate momentum for this project early in 2018.” 
This is the latest of several delays by PTT Global Chemical of Thailand, which disclosed it was considering a Belmont County site in April 2015. At that time, the company said it was doing engineering studies and would decide whether to move forward with the project in 2016. The company said last February that it was delaying the decision until late 2017. 
A cracker plant takes ethane, a component of natural gas, and breaks it down to produce ethylene, which is used in chemical manufacturing. Belmont County, which is along the Ohio-West Virginia border, is on top of plentiful gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale formations. 
“It’s just a tremendously large project that has a lot of parts to it,” said Larry Merry, executive director of the Belmont County Port Authority. “The company is just doing their due diligence.”
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Deep Dive Into 3rd Quarter 2017 Utica Shale Production Data

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has now released the production data from the Utica shale for the third quarter of 2017. As always, we are going to give you a look at how the numbers compare to past quarters, past years, and how they break down among the various drillers who are active in Ohio and the counties where they are drilling. We also have the top 10 oil and gas wells detailed below.


First up, let's take a look at how the quarterly data compares from the 1st quarter of 2014 through the third quarter of 2017. As a reminder, all oil figures are 42-gallon barrels, and all gas production is measured in MCF:

So, after four consecutive quarters of declining oil production, this makes three quarters in a row with a rise in total oil production.  Production rates dropped off for the second straight quarter, with the amount of oil per day in production matching the low point previously hit in the final quarter of 2016.

Gas production hit a new single-quarter peak for the third straight quarter, and also reached a new high for gas produced per well in production.

The next table shows the production comparison year-over-year, as well as a look at where 2017 production is on pace to end up based on the first three quarters.

Oil continues to be on pace for a year-over-year decline of over 1.5 million barrels.  However, gas production continues to be on the pace to increase year-over-year yet again.  


Here are the top 10 oil-producing wells in quarter three of 2017:

And here are the top 10 gas-producing wells from quarter three:


Here is the production data broken down by county:

Belmont County has passed Carroll County in terms of the number of permits issued, and is closing the gap on the amount of wells producing.  The numbers make it easy to see why, with the gas production rates far outpacing the performance of Carroll County wells.  Guernsey County, meanwhile, continues to be by far the most productive oil county in terms of production rates.


And here are the results broken down by operator:

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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Rig Count Again Steady, Producing Wells Up 16 on Latest ODNR Utica Shale Report

New permits issued last week: 13  (Previous week: 10+3
Total horizontal permits issued: 2716  (Previous week: 2603+13
Total horizontal wells drilled: 2201  (Previous week: 2187+14
Total horizontal wells producing: 1751 (Previous week: 1735+16
Utica rig count: 21 (Previous week: 21)  +-0

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ODNR Releases Third Quarter 2017 Utica Shale Production Data

From an ODNR news release:
During the third quarter of 2017, Ohio’s horizontal shale wells produced 4,165,729 barrels of oil and 460,558,077 Mcf (460 billion cubic feet) of natural gas, according to the figures released today by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).Natural gas production from the third quarter of 2017 showed an increase over the third quarter of 2016, while oil production also increased by nearly 3% for the same period. 

2016 Quarter 3 (Shale)
2017 Quarter 3 (Shale)
Percentage Change
Barrels of Oil
4,045,898 bbl
4,165,729 bbl
Mcf of Natural Gas
361,184,697 mcf
460,558,077 mcf
The ODNR quarterly report lists 1,796 horizontal shale wells, 1,760 of which reported oil and natural gas production during the quarter. Of the 1,760 reporting oil and natural gas results: 
•             The average amount of oil produced was 2,367 barrels.•             The average amount of natural gas produced was 261,681 Mcf.•             The average number of third quarter days in production was 88. 
All horizontal production reports can be accessed at oilandgas.ohiodnr.gov/production.Ohio law does not require the separate reporting of Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs) or condensate. Oil and gas reporting totals list on the report include NGLs and condensate.
We'll have our breakdown of the data later this week!

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One Activist Court Case Against NEXUS Pipeline Meets Defeat

From The Herald-Dispatch:
A federal judge has delivered a blow to some Ohio property owners' efforts to stop construction of a high-pressure natural gas pipeline.

U.S. District Judge John Adams in Akron on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit filed in May by more than 60 property owners. They want the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission prevented from approving construction plans for the 250-mile-long (402-kilometer) NEXUS pipeline.

The judge accepted a magistrate's recommendation that the court in northern Ohio lacks jurisdiction to consider the challenge.

The $2 billion project is designed to carry 1.5 billion cubic feet (42.5 million cubic meters) of gas daily from the Utica and Marcellus shale fields in Appalachia across northern Ohio into Michigan and Ontario, Canada.
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Judge Allows Underpaid Royalties Case Against Chesapeake and Anadarko to Progress in Pennsylvania

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
A judge in northeastern Pennsylvania will allow the state attorney general’s office to proceed with a major lawsuit accusing two natural gas companies of cheating Pennsylvania landowners out of shale gas royalties and fair leases. 
In an order published Friday in Bradford County Court, Senior Judge Kenneth Brown rejected nearly all of the preliminary objections that were filed by Oklahoma-based Chesapeake Energy Corp. and Texas-based Anadarko Petroleum Corp. in an attempt to get the case dismissed at its early stages. 
Most significantly, the judge found that the state’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law applies in this case even though the harmed parties — the landowners — are technically the sellers in the transaction, not the consumers generally protected by the law. 
But Judge Brown certified his conclusion on that issue and one other issue for immediate appeal to the Commonwealth Court, saying that it would be best for the state’s appeals courts to settle those novel questions of law before more time and money is spent on the case.
The rest of the article can be read by clicking here.

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Energy Industry Stands to Win Big from Tax Legislation

From Forbes:
The tax bill that is working its way toward President Trump's desk should be a boon to corporate America. The current proposal, which looks like it has the votes to pass, will drop the corporate tax rate from the current 35% to 21%. 
But energy companies, which have historically had a higher tax burden than other companies, stand to benefit the most. 
The Highest-Taxed Sector 
According to the corporate tax calculator at MarketWatch, the energy sector's median tax rate for the past 11 years was 36.8%, far above the 30% average tax rate for all S&P 500 companies.

Companies at the top of the list, like Marathon Oil Corporation and ConocoPhillips, pay taxes at a rate of nearly 50%. That's primarily because they have significant foreign operations, and incur foreign taxes that in some cases are much higher than U.S. taxes. In addition, they usually have to pay severance taxes for oil and gas they extract. 
Even most of the lowest-taxed companies on the list pay more taxes than the average S&P 500 company. But energy companies are getting two major breaks in the new tax bill.
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Fracking Opponents Want More Time to Complain About Proposed Injection Wells

From the Youngstown Vindicator:
Opponents of proposed plans to install additional fracking-waste injection wells in Trumbull County have sent a letter to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Oil and Gas, seeking a 60-day extension of the time for submission of public comments. They urge the deadline be moved from Dec. 25 to Feb. 25, 2018. 
To have a deadline for comment on Christmas day is unreasonable, the letter said. 
The letter, dated Dec. 11, was sent via electronic mail to James Zehringer, director of ODNR, and Richard Simmer, chief of the Division of Oil and Gas, by several residents of Brookfield and the Northeastern Ohio region, who also seek a public hearing on the matter. 
The letter says that additional fracking-waste injection wells in the region of Trumbull County “will greatly exacerbate the potential environmental downside of drilling waste deposal wells, in the form of groundwater pollution and exhaustion of available solid waste disposal facilities.”
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Energy Transfer Announces FERC Approval to Place Rover Pipeline’s Phase 1B into Service

From an Energy Transfer press release:
Project Moves Closer to its 3.25 Billion Cubic Feet Per Day Design Capacity to Transport Natural Gas Out of the Marcellus and Utica Shales 
DALLAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 15, 2017-- Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. (NYSE: ETP) announced today that Rover Pipeline, LLC received approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to place Phase 1B of the Rover Pipeline project into service, bringing the 713-mile pipeline closer to its 3.25 billion cubic feet per day design total. With the addition of the Phase 1B facilities, the project is now capable of transporting up to 1.7 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas. Rover shippers now have access to six additional receipt points from Seneca thru Clarington areas of the Marcellus and Utica supply basins with an incremental receipt capacity of 2.45 billion cubic feet per day. Rover has been in partial service from Cadiz, Ohio, to Defiance, Ohio since August 31, 2017, capable of transporting 1 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas. 
When in full service, Rover will transport natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica Shale production areas to markets across the United States as well as into the Union Gas Dawn Storage Hub in Ontario, Canada. The final phase of the pipeline is expected to be in service by the end of the first quarter of 2018. 
Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. (NYSE: ETP) is a master limited partnership that owns and operates one of the largest and most diversified portfolios of energy assets in the United States. Strategically positioned in all of the major U.S. production basins, ETP owns and operates a geographically diverse portfolio of complementary natural gas midstream, intrastate and interstate transportation and storage assets; crude oil, natural gas liquids (NGL) and refined product transportation and terminalling assets; NGL fractionation assets; and various acquisition and marketing assets. ETP’s general partner is owned by Energy Transfer Equity, L.P. (NYSE: ETE). For more information, visit the Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. website at energytransfer.com.
View the whole release by clicking here.

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Ohio Utica Shale Counties to Watch in 2018: Belmont and Jefferson

by Jackie Stewart, Energy in Depth

While 2017 was the year of midstream development and pipeline construction in Ohio, 2018 will be the year of major investment decisions by large end-users of natural gas and natural gas liquids.
Without a doubt, the most important Utica Shale developments to watch for in 2018 will revolve entirely around the development and final decisions for massive downstream investment in world-scale petrochemical projects, the pipeline infrastructure and production to fuel them, and the storage to support them.
Given all that’s occurred this year and is in the works for next, it’s no surprise Belmont County has made our list of “Ohio Utica Shale Counties to Watch” for the fourth consecutive year.  For the first time ever, Belmont County has surpassed Carroll County in number of drilling permits, and PTT Global Chemical (hopefully) will make a final investment decision in 2018 on a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker plant proposed in the county.
And while it’s obvious Belmont County will receive national attention for all those reasons, we simply cannot deny that the most shocking Ohio Utica Shale County of 2017 was, without a doubt, Jefferson County. Jefferson County has its own story to tell with its vital connection to the Shell Chemical Appalachia LLC (Shell) ethane cracker in Pennsylvania and a budding rebirth in steel manufacturing.
For all of these reasons, our extensive research and analysis has led us to select Belmont and Jefferson counties as the “Ohio Utica Counties to Watch” in 2018. We are anxious to see what happens in both of these counties next year.
Three Key Reasons to Watch Belmont Co. In 2018
1) Will PTT Global Chemical make its final investment decision in 2018? We sure hope so!
This year, perhaps more than any other, could be one of the most pivotal years for Ohio, since the prospects of PTT Global Chemical moving closer to a final investment decision to invest in a multi-billion ethane cracker continue to look promising.
In February, news reports stated that the company announced it would make a final investment decision by the end of this year. While the company itself has never actually time stamped its decision, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed with JobsOhio, the economic development arm of the State of Ohio, in October that will, “establish a community infrastructure development plan to enhance the well-being and quality of life for the communities in the area surrounding PTTGC America’s planned petrochemical complex in Belmont County, Ohio, after the Final Investment Decision.”
With the clock running out on 2017, it’s likely a final investment decision will be delayed until some time  in 2018. It’s a gross understatement to say that this decision is critical for Ohio and for the region. It’s also safe to say that Ohio is “all-in” on trying to secure a favorable decision for this world-class petrochemical project, as PTT Global Chemical’s plant would be a region-changing event.
2) Will Belmont County hold the top spot for number of permits in Ohio? Time will tell.
For each of the past four years, EID has targeted Belmont County as the “Utica Shale County to Watch.”  However, this year was particularly noteworthy, as for the first time ever, Belmont County took the top spot for permits to drill with 530. This represents a 64 percent increase over the lows realized in May 2016.
RankCountyMay 2016 PermitsDecember 2017 Permits% Change
*Source ODNR
3) Will 2018 show continued growth in natural gas and natural gas liquids production? With pipelines going into operation, the forecast looks bright.
Third quarter Utica Shale production results for 2017 are not yet in, but production results for each quarter so far this year have continued to climb, and Belmont County has consistently shown top producing wells.  For example, one of Belmont County’s operators, Antero Resources, the largest producer of natural gas liquids in the United States, has 151,000 net acres of leaseholdings located in the rich gas/condensate window of the Utica Shale play located in eastern Ohio. According to the company’s November overview, and as you can clearly see below, the Marcellus and Utica shales are increasingly becoming more liquids focused, while at the same time the Appalachian Basin has been driving the growth of natural gas production nationwide. Belmont County continues to be in the heart of what operators consider the Utica Shale core and we would certainly expect production to continue to impress in 2018.

Three Key Reasons to Watch Jefferson Co. in 2018
1) Is Jefferson County making a comeback? Production and permitting data show signs of life.
After the shocking year Jefferson County has had when it comes to permits and natural gas production, we can’t help but ask, what’s going on in Jefferson County these days?  Permits to drill year over year are up over 100 percent in this county. And for the first time in years, Jefferson County hit the top-10 list for natural gas production for the fourth quarter of 2016.
Natural gas production grew by 587 percent from 2015 to 2016. And in the first two quarters of 2017, while not as prolific as other counties, Jefferson County still showed impressive results. Recall that it was Jefferson County that made national news in 2012 because of its Utica Shale development, as Reuters reported,
“In a region more accustomed to hard times than optimism, residents hope that a boom in shale gas drilling using the controversial technique of hydraulic fracturing – or “fracking” – will lead to wealth, jobs and a reservoir of domestic energy that could dramatically boost the area’s fortunes.”
2) Will shale continue to drive steel manufacturing back to life along the Ohio River in 2018? Manufacturers think so.
Following decades of steel mill closures, steel manufacturing is showing signs of life in Jefferson County and along the Ohio River once again. And the local residents are calling the manufacturing rebirth an “answer to prayer.”
As EID reported in September, after being closed for eight years, a Jefferson County steel mill is now open for business and shipping 19,000 tons of domestically produced steel on the Ohio River — thanks to low natural gas prices made possible from shale development.
The Mingo Junction-based mill has re-opened under new ownership and now has125 permanent employees, with plans to add up to at least 145 more, something Mingo Junction Mayor Ed Fithen, a former employee at the mill, never thought he’d see,
“After being down for 8 years – I worked there for 35 — I said this place will never start up. It’s too down.”
So will this kind of news continue? The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) thinks it will.  In fact, NAM just released a study that found that over 94 percent of respondents feel positively about their own company’s outlook and optimism is the highest in the survey’s 20-year history!
3) Did you know that Jefferson County plays a vital role to the success of a world-class petrochemical project?  That’s right — Jefferson County will be home to the pipeline that feeds the $6 billion petrochemical complex in Pennsylvania.  
Another reason why Jefferson County is on the map is that it’s home to a vital proposed pipeline project that will provide the feedstock to Shell Chemical Appalachia LLC’s (Shell) major petrochemicals complex in Pennsylvania. Shell’s proposed Falcone Pipeline will provide a critical transportation source for more than 100,000 barrels of ethane daily to the $6 billion petrochemicals complex.
In addition to adding 1,000 local jobs during the pipeline’s construction, the overall economic benefits to the region from the pipeline and ethane cracker could lead to 100,000 permanent new chemical and plastic products manufacturing jobs by 2025, according to the American Chemistry Council (ACC). The ACC study also found that the region could stand to gain $2.9 billion in new local, state, and federal tax revenues as well.
Source: http://www.timesonline.com/news/20171018/shell-spends-additional-600k-on-pipeline-easments
There’s no doubt that 2018 is going to be an exciting year. It will be a year filled with a lot of questions, optimism and what the people of Appalachia hope will ultimately continue to be an “answer to prayer.” And we feel Belmont and Jefferson Counties will be the primary locations to watch closely to see if this next exciting phase of shale development continues to become a reality.

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Friday, December 15, 2017

12/15/17 Links of the Day: New Fracking Studies, New Court Decisions, and More

Stanford News:  Small Quakes at Fracking Sites May Indicate Bigger Tremors to Come   -   "Stanford geoscientists have devised a way of detecting thousands of faint, previously missed earthquakes triggered by hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” The technique can be used to monitor seismic activities at fracking operations to help reduce the likelihood of bigger, potentially damaging earthquakes from occurring, according to..."

Associated Press:  Gas Driller: Make Homeowner Pay for Disparaging Us   -   "A gas driller argued in court Monday that it's entitled to monetary damages from a Pennsylvania homeowner who continued bad-mouthing the company after settling his water-contamination lawsuit against it more than five years ago. Houston-based Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. claims Dimock resident Ray Kemble and his former lawyers tried to extort the company..."

Oil and Gas Investor:  Eclipse Acquires New Utica Core for "Cheap" $93.7 Million   -   "Eclipse Resources Corp. (NYSE: ECR) entered an agreement on Dec. 11 to acquire about 44,500 highly contiguous net acres in north-central Pennsylvania, which analysts said will add another core area to the company's Utica Shale portfolio for “cheap.” The State College, Pa.-based company and its subsidiary, Eclipse Resources-PA LP, agreed to acquire the Utica assets from EnCap-backed Travis Peak Resources LLC in an..."

Oil & Gas Journal:  Moody's: Oil, Gas Industry to Continue Recovery in 2018   -   "The oil and gas industry will continue its slow recovery as upstream companies increase production, helping the midstream and services businesses as well, according to Moody’s 2018 outlook. Excess supply will continue to dampen oil prices in the coming year. Natural gas prices, on the other hand, will benefit from higher demand, but price gains will still..."

Energy & Environmental Law Blog:  Recent Ohio Oil and Gas Decisions   -   "Over the last several weeks, Ohio courts issued a few decisions involving oil and gas issues that we wanted to briefly mention: Schillo v. Chesapeake Exploration, LLC (Harrison Cty. C.P., Oct. 16, 2017) – Here, the dispute was whether the lessee properly extended an oil and gas lease through the tender of delay rental payments. The lessee tendered the rentals by..."

The Intelligencer:  Ohio Valley Wonders if Ethane Cracker is Still in the Pipeline   -   "As 2017 nears its conclusion, Upper Ohio Valley residents continue waiting for a decision on the PTT Global Chemical ethane cracker — a potential $6 billion investment for which company officials in February said they anticipated a final decision by the end of this year. “I am, like everyone else, just waiting to find out,” Ohio Rep. Jack Cera, D-Bellaire, said. “I am waiting and anxiously..."

Energy & Environmental Law Blog:  Eclipse Res.-Ohio, LLC v. Madzia   -   "Last week, the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its decision in Eclipse Res.—Ohio, LLC v. Madzia, concerning a dispute between a landowner and a lessee regarding the latter’s drilling rights. Among other things, the court found: The lease, which conveyed to the lessee a broad grant of rights to use the landowner’s property for drilling—including the right to..."

Bloomberg:  OPEC Wakes Up to the Threat of U.S. Shale 2.0   -   "OPEC predicted that global oil markets won’t rebalance until late next year after boosting forecasts for supplies from the U.S. and other rivals. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ monthly report raised its outlook for non-OPEC supply in 2018 by 300,000 barrels a day, as its projections for American output caught up with those of the U.S. government. As a result..."

U.S. News:  Studies Find Dangerous Bacteria Near Texas Fracking Sites   -   "Two new studies from University of Texas at Arlington researchers show harmful bacteria levels in groundwater near hydraulically fractured gas drilling sites. The studies published in the peer-reviewed journal Science of the Total Environment show antibiotic-resistant bacteria exist in private water wells in the Barnett Shale and Eagle Ford Shale regions..."

Energy in Depth:  UTA Research Finds No Definitive Link Between Fracking and Water Contamination   -   "Researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington’s (UTA) Collaborative Laboratories for Environmental Analysis and Remediation (CLEAR) recently released three new reports examining the diversity of bacteria found in water wells in the Eagle Ford and Barnett Shales. These reports claim that potential contamination from drilling activities impacted the bacteria found in the groundwater – bacteria that could..."

Star Beacon:  Dozens Attend Open House to Learn About $86 Million Project   -   "A proposed $86 million pipeline proponents say will address a natural gas shortage in the northeast corner of Ashtabula County could be operational in one year, according to information shared at a project open house Tuesday night in North Kingsville. “We hope to get approval (for the project) by June 1, start construction in July and have the pipeline in by the end of next year,” Øivind Risberg, of RH energytrans, told more than 100 in attendance..."

Crain's Cleveland Business:  Fairmount Santrol Shareholders to Receive $170 Million as Company Agrees to Merge with Unimin Corp.   -   "Frack sand miner Fairmount Santrol (NYSE: FMSA) of Chesterland announced Tuesday morning, Dec. 12, that it plans to merge with Unimin Corp., a wholly owned U.S. subsidiary of Belgium's SCR-Sibelco NV, in a deal that will create an industrial mineral company with about $2 billion in annual revenue. Directors of both companies have approved a definitive agreement under which Fairmount Santrol and Unimin will combine in a tax-free, cash and stock..."

Business Journal Daily:  Public Comment Open on Proposed Brookfield Wells   -   "Residents interested in providing public comment related to the development of three new injection wells planned for the township have until Christmas Day to do so. Highland Field Services LLC, based in Pittsburgh, started informing the public through legal notices in area newspapers last week. Under Ohio law, the public has 15 days to comment after the final notice is published, which was Sunday. The deadline to submit comments is..."

Washington Post:  Fracking Sites May Raise the Risks of Underweight Babies, New Study Says   -   "Living within half a mile of a hydraulic fracturing site carries a serious risk for pregnant women, a new study has found. The drilling technique, also known as fracking, injects high-pressure water laced with chemicals into underground rock to release natural gas. Women who lived within that distance to fracking operations in Pennsylvania were 25 percent more likely to give birth to low-weight infants than..."

Energy in Depth:  Six Flaws in a New Report Trying to Link Fracking to Infant Health Issues   -   "Earlier today, EID highlighted six facts to know about a new study claiming to show “evidence” that fracking is responsible for greater incidences of low birth weights, most of which call the study’s topline finding into question. Fact No. 8 emerged soon after our blog post went live, and it reveals a probable motive for the researchers arriving at that inflammatory topline finding despite numerous limitations and contradictory data. Turns out..."

Energy in Depth:  Wayne National Forest Auctions Rake in Over $8 Million in Sales   -   "The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) competitive online auctions of federal minerals in the Wayne National Forest have resulted in mineral sales of just over $8 million. To date, there have been four sales, the most recent occurring today, which yielded approximately $944,000, based on closing bid results. The first two sales generated $1,515,110 for 12 Appalachian counties in Ohio, according to federal officials, who recently presented..."

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Rover Pipeline Gets Full Green Light for Drilling From FERC Despite Ohio EPA Objections

From Reuters:
U.S. energy regulators on Thursday approved Energy Transfer Partners LP’s request to resume horizontal drilling at eight sites in Ohio and West Virginia as it works to complete part of the Rover natural gas pipeline by the end of the year. 
The approvals came as the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency sought a pause in Rover’s horizontal drilling in the state due to repeated spills of the clay and water mix used to lubricate the drilling blades. 
The Ohio EPA asked the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for the pause on Nov. 24. 
“Ohio was only informed shortly before and not consulted about the FERC approval to Rover. We are still very concerned about the total and continuing number of environmental impacts Rover is causing in Ohio,” Ohio EPA director Craig Butler said in a statement. 
Pipeline companies use horizontal directional drilling to cross under large obstacles like highways and rivers.

ETP said that with the FERC approval on Thursday it can proceed with all 49 horizontal drills for the entire Rover project. It has already completed 29 of those drills.
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Cabot Oil & Gas Eyes Drilling in Ohio's Utica Shale, and Residents Voice Displeasure

From the Mansfield News Journal:
Residents voiced their concerns with a company's plans for possible fracking in Ashland County during a public meeting Monday evening. 
The meeting came after Houston-based Cabot Oil and Gas Corporation began initial work in recent months for potential exploratory wells in Ashland County. 
About 10 people gathered in the shelter building at Kendig Park in Hayesville for the panel discussion. 
"This little town will never be the same if the trucks come in and out and put in that well," said Ashland County resident and panelist Elaine Tanner with Friends for Environmental Justice. "And it's gonna come right off of Route 30, you know. That's the easiest way to get here, and we just don't want to see that happen."
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Utica Shale 2017 Drilling Year in Review: Record Production with No Major Incidents

by Jackie Stewart, Energy in Depth

Though still significantly down from previous highs, an EID data review reveals rig and permit counts in Ohio’s Utica Shale increased significantly last year, with rigs climbing over 130 percent and permits rising by 25 percent since 2016. Production results from the first and second quarters of 2017 reported by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) also showed significant gains this year. Natural gas production rose by 16 percent compared to the same quarter last year and also rose slightly – approximately 4 percent for a total of 388.6 billion cubic feet (Mcf) – compared to the first quarter of 2017.
More importantly, as drilling has picked up and production of natural gas continues to break records, ODNR has confirmed that unconventional drillers in Ohio have had no major incidents in 2017 classified under the ODNR Emergency Operations and Response Section.
This year the Utica Shale Local Support Series also revealed some exciting information in regard to property taxes paid on production and expenditures on roads tied to drilling activities. Both reports have concluded that oil and natural gas drilling and production lead directly to significant economic benefits, such as over $43 million property taxes paid on production and over $300 million paid in improvements to vital infrastructure. Moreover, the aggregate Ohio sales tax and use revenues have continued to climb by 45 percent in eight Utica Shale producing counties, outpacing the sales tax growth rate of Ohio’s 80 other counties by 15 percent, from 2012 to 2016.
By all metrics, 2017 has shown positive trends, especially as it appears Utica Shale development is still in its infancy.
Who’s Drilling & Where are they Drilling?
From a permit perspective, the big story is the fact that for the first time ever, permits to drill shale wells in Belmont County have surpassed Carroll County. As of Dec. 2, Belmont County has been issued the most permits at 530, followed by Carroll, Harrison, Monroe, Noble, Guernsey, Columbiana and Jefferson counties.
To date there are 21 rigs operating in Ohio, which is slightly below 2017’s high of 23 rigs, but still a significant improvement from the low counts seen in the spring of 2016.
Some surprising trends have also emerged this year, and demonstrate that some of EID’s earlier predictions were accurate.  For instance, Jefferson County incredibly, has more than doubled its permits from 2016. In fact, aside from Mahoning County, the top 10 Utica Shale counties all saw an increase in permits, with Monroe and Belmont joining Jefferson County to round out the top three counties in terms of percentage change of permits.
RankCountyMay 2016 PermitsDecember 2017
% Change
While showing a small reduction from last year, Chesapeake Energy still has the largest number of permits in Ohio, followed by Gulfport, Ascent Resources, Antero, Eclipse Resources, and Rice/EQT. But the company who has advanced their drilling program the most is hands down Rice/EQT, with Ascent, Gulfport and Antero also showing top gains in their development of Utica Shale assets.
CompanyMay 2016 PermitsDecember  2017 Permits% Change
Where has tax revenue gone?
As The Utica Shale Local Support Series report examined this year, ad valorem tax revenue, or property taxes paid on oil and natural gas production, stays 100 percent local. This revenue supports schools, county governments, townships, villages, mental health centers and first-responders.
CountyProperty Taxes Paid On Production (2010-2015)

What’s more is that this is only the beginning. As was reported by the ODNR, natural gas production has continued to surge in 2016 and into the first two quarters of this year. Drilling is starting to pick up again, and with it, production can be expected to continue to rise as well. That’s why we conservatively forecasted Ohio shale counties will receive an additional $200-$250 million from ad valorem taxes from 2016-2026. As the real-world data shows, these taxes are having an enormous positive impact locally and providing much-needed resources to our schools, governments and social services — and doing so without raising taxes on Ohioans.
In addition to this one tax, a new report by Energy In Depth and the Ohio Oil and Gas Association (OOGA) finds that oil and gas operators have paid more than $302.6 million for road, bridge and culvert improvements via the Road Use Maintenance Agreement (RUMA), which is used by Ohio counties to ensure road damages by heavy equipment being moved for shale drilling and pipeline work are either prevented or repaired.
By all metrics 2017 has been a good year for upstream Utica Shale development in Ohio. With new pipelines coming online to move product to market, we would certainly expect a positive outlook for the year to come as well.

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