Friday, April 28, 2017

Anti-Drilling Activist Suggests That People Should Start Murdering Oil and Gas Workers

From the Colorado Springs Gazette:
The Boulder Daily Camera published a letter to the editor April 19 that recommended bombing fracking sites to "eliminate fracking and workers." Here is an excerpt: 
"If the oil and gas industry puts fracking wells in our neighborhoods, threatening our lives and our children's lives, then don't we have a moral responsibility to blow up wells and eliminate fracking and workers?" wrote Andrew J. O'Connor, who is trying to get an anti-fracking measure on November's ballot. 
We repeat. This is not pretend. This letter appeared in the Daily Camera. 
After readers expressed dismay, the newspaper softened the online version of the call to violence. Instead of suggesting bombs, the revised version says we "have a moral responsibility to take action to dissuade frackers" from operating. 
An editor's note, explaining the revision, said the Camera does not condone violence. The note goes on to defend the letter for presenting "a philosophical question the Camera believes is worthy of community conversation in the context of the ongoing discussion over fracking." 
In an interview with Dan Njegomir, of, O'Connor escalated his defense of violence toward workers. 
"I wouldn't have a problem with a sniper shooting one of the workers" at a drilling site, O'Connor said, arguing he was not specifically calling anyone to carry out any such act. "I see fracking as murder, and there's medical and scientific evidence of that." 
Actually, there is not. A recent study by the Colorado Department of Health and Environment analyzed 10,000 air samples taken from the immediate vicinity of fracking wells and found concentrations of toxins lower than limits set by the EPA. Contamination of water has been negligible and rare, as have lethal drilling site accidents.
Click here to read more.

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Rover Pipeline Feeling Heat After 2 Spills; Will Also Pay $2.3 Million for Demolishing Historic Home

As we previously posted about here on The Daily Digger, the Rover pipeline has had a couple of spills during the construction process.  These occurrences are drawing attention to the project - no doubt the kind of attention that Energy Transfer Partners would rather avoid.

Here’s how the company says it happened: 
“Due to the subsurface conditions and other environmental conditions of the locations, the drilling mud was able to migrate through naturally occurring fractures in the soils and reach the surface.” 
So Earth did it, in cahoots with the environment. 
No one should be surprised that construction of the pipeline, which started only recently, has led to screw-ups. Rover has not hidden the fact that it is in a hurry. 
Corporate attorneys argued this year in U.S. District Court that Rover had to make haste. The company needed permission to cut trees along the pipeline’s path ASAP because endangered bats would soon awaken from their winter slumber and begin roosting in trees. Rover had to finish its tree-cutting before April 1, or the project would be forced to endure a costly delay until the bats left the trees and returned to hibernation in the fall. 
Hemorrhaging a few million gallons of muck into some wetlands is one thing. Hemorrhaging money is quite another.
From WTUZ:
Officials are showing concern following two Rover Pipeline spills last week, one in a wetland near the Tuscarawas River in Navarre. 
Tuscarawas County Commissioner Joe Scarretti, noted anything that happens upstream of the river, should be of concern to the county. 
“Anything that happens along that proximity we should be concerned about. Everything that I’ve seen is that they were on it, they mitigated the spills.” 
Scarretti went on to say that unfortunately with major projects like this one, mistakes are likely to be made. 
“If we’re doing our job then we should know that too and be familiar with it. So, yea that was concerning. But it looks like they’re on top of it and hopefully they’ll learn from those mistakes.”
 We've also previously reported on the decision by Rover to demolish a home in Carroll County that was eligible for the registry of historical places.  After a back-and-forth with officials, Rover now has to pay for that decision.  From BG Independent News:
Rover tore down the Stoneman House before notifying the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, even though the commission had identified the building as a concern. 
On Feb. 23, 2015, Rover reportedly filed its application for the project, which included a commitment to “a solution that results in no adverse effects” to the historic structure.
But the house was torn down in May 2016. 
After learning that the house had been torn down, preservation office staff said Rover should provide financial assistance to the state preservation office for local preservation needs. 
The company agreed to pay $2.3 million to a fund administered by the Ohio History Connection Foundation and the State Historic Preservation Office. A total of $1 million is for preservation work in the 18 counties crossed by the pipeline. The rest of the money will be used for projects across the state.
One would imagine that the Rover pipeline would prefer to simply stay out of the news as construction continues.

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NRDC-Funded Study: ‘No Indication of Groundwater Contamination’ From Fracking

by Seth Whitehead, Energy in Depth

Just two days after the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and other anti-fracking groups “marched for science” as part of Earth Day, an NRDC-funded study has added to the already long list of scientific evidence that fracking is not a major threat to drinking water.
The new peer-reviewed Duke University-led study released Monday finds fracking “has not contaminated groundwater in northwestern West Virginia.” As Duke professor of geochemistry and study co-author Avner Vengosh said of the study,
“Based on consistent evidence from comprehensive testing, we found no indication of groundwater contamination over the three-year course of our study.”
This is just one of numerous peer-reviewed studies to confirm fracking is not a significant threat drinking water (see full list below). And like a 2015 University of Cincinnati study that also found the fracking process did not contaminate drinking water, this report is all-the-more notable considering it was conducted, in part, by anti-fracking researchers.
Study co-author Robert Jackson, a Stanford University professor, and Vengosh were both behind previous deeply flawed Duke studies that purported to find widespread contamination from shale development, and Vengosh has produced a number of anti-fracking studies over the years.
Fortunately, unlike the UC study, this study has actually been published. And like the UC study, the results were simply too irrefutable for the authors’ bias to affect the topline conclusion.
One reason for the latter is that the study’s methodology included the use state-of-the-art isotopic tracers to determine whether or not detected salinity, trace metals and hydrocarbons such as methane were from the fracking process.
Leader author Jennifer Harkness, a recent PhD graduate of Duke’s Nicholas School, noted in the study’s press release that, “The integrated suite of tracers we used — which were developed at Duke in recent years — provides us with tools sensitive enough to accurately distinguish these subtle differences, which might be missed if you only used a handful of simple measurement techniques.”
Vengosh noted in the study’s press release that the paper was likely the “… first to report a broadly integrated study of various geochemical techniques designed to distinguish natural from anthropogenic sources of natural gas and salt contaminants both before and after drilling.”
The study also included water samples from 112 drinking water wells and baseline sampling from 20 wells. By incorporating the latter baseline sampling, the researchers were able to take into account water issues that pre-date recent West Virginia shale development that has led to more than 3,000 unconventional wells being drilled in the state.
As Vengosh noted in an interview with, the use of baseline sampling gave the researchers a high degree of certainty that shale gas development has not caused groundwater impacts in the study area,
“The fact we’re feeling confident it’s not coming from shale gas is that we conducted measurements at about 20 wells prior to any installation of shale gas wells,” he explained. “So we have really good baseline of information and we conducted really extensive analysis.”
Combined, the two factors led the researchers to conclude,
“The tests showed that methane and saline groundwater were present in both the pre-drilling and post-drilling well water samples, but that they had a chemistry that was subtly but distinctly different from the isotopic fingerprints of methane and salts contained in fracking fluids and shale gas. This indicated that they occurred naturally in the region’s shallow aquifers and were not the result of the recent shale gas operations.
“The integrated geochemical data indicate that the saline groundwater originated via naturally occurring processes, presumably from the migration of deeper methane-rich brines that have interacted extensively with coal lithologies. These observations were consistent with the lack of changes in water quality observed in drinking-water wells following the installation of nearby shale-gas wells.
“These observations suggest a natural source of hydrocarbon-rich brine mixing with shallow, young meteoric groundwater rather than contamination from nearby unconventional oil and gas development.”
With regard to surface water impacts, the authors were only able to conclude that spills “may” pose a contamination threat, based on the fact that there was evidence of three spills impacting water in a study area that includes hundreds of shale wells, as the following graphic from the report illustrates.
Unfortunately, at least one media report chose to focus on the three spills — two of which were injection well related and not exclusive to fracking — rather than the topline conclusion that there was no evidence of impacts from the fracking process.
But the bottom line is that this study adds to a long list of scientific evidence showing fracking is not a significant threat to drinking water. The most prominent studies include:
Along with the the recent overturning of a multi-million dollar nuisance verdict in Dimock, Pa., this study represents just the latest nail in the coffin of the anti-fracking movement’s debunked go-to talking point that fracking is an inherent threat to drinking water.

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Rig Count Climbs on Latest ODNR Permitting Report

New permits issued last week: 7  (Previous week: 8-1
Total horizontal permits issued: 2476  (Previous week: 2469+7
Total horizontal wells drilled: 1968  (Previous week: 1964+4
Total horizontal wells producing: 1540  (Previous week: 1540+0
Utica rig count: 22  (Previous week: 19)  +3

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Looking Back on the Unpredictable U.S. Shale Boom

From Forbes:
Overemphasizing the shift in the energy markets since 2005 is hard. Had you predicted the shift that was to come, you would have been widely deemed a lunatic. But let me take you back there for a moment and remind you of where we stood, and what played out over the next decade. 
U.S. oil production had seemingly peaked in 1970 at 9.6 million barrels per day (BPD), and by 2005 had declined for 35 years. Production in 2005 stood at 5.2 million BPD, and crude oil imports had reached 10.1 million BPD -- just under 50% of total U.S. petroleum consumption. The U.S. economy was in a precarious situation, highly dependent on oil imports from countries like Venezuela and Saudi Arabia; countries whose interests weren’t always aligned with our own. 
Concerns about oil supplies weren’t limited to the U.S. In 2005 energy investment banker Matt Simmons published Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy. Simmons helped set off a fierce debate about whether Saudi Arabia -- and the world as a whole -- had reached a global peak in oil production. This thesis gained traction over the next three years, as oil prices surged past $100/bbl and helped push the world into recession. The U.S. desperately needed a miracle to reverse decades of growing energy dependence. Actually one was in the works, unbeknownst to most Americans.
Read the rest of this article by clicking here.

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Exxon is Turning Loose its Shale Unit

From Bloomberg:
In a matter of weeks, crews working for Exxon’s XTO Energy Inc. unit will begin erecting drilling rigs across a patch of southeast New Mexico to exploit the region’s mile-thick strata of oil-soaked rock. ExxonMobil Corp. paid almost $6 billion for the drilling rights in late February—its biggest acquisition in more than six years—but that’s where the parent company’s involvement ends: Decisions on when and how to harvest the crude fall solely on the shale experts at XTO. 
Exxon Chief Executive Officer Darren Woods and his top lieutenants at corporate headquarters in suburban Dallas are intentionally staying out of the way of the tightly knit phalanx of XTO engineers, physicists, and geologists leading the oil major’s advance into shale. Based largely in the Texas cities of Fort Worth and Midland, XTO’s 5,000-person staff has been exempt from many of the centralized bureaucratic and planning structures of their overlords since Exxon acquired XTO for $35 billion in 2010, according to people with knowledge of the arrangements who weren’t authorized to speak publicly. 
Exxon’s policy of benign neglect is one it shares with other oil giants such as Chevron Corp., which has set up its own “dedicated shale team” that operates like a quasi-independent unit, according to Noah Barrett, an analyst at Janus Capital Group Inc. The top-down and heavily structured approaches they use on megaprojects—building a liquefied gas export complex or pumping crude that lies miles beneath the sea surface—won’t work with shale. Rigs and roughnecks must be hired or moved at a moment’s notice in response to emerging opportunities or volatile crude prices. “Historically, the major operators have been slower-moving beasts,” Barrett says. But in the age of shale, “the ability to be flexible is a huge advantage.”
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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Lack of Confidence Evident in Energy Sector

From the Washington Post:
The most striking aspect of the energy sector in recent weeks has been an all-round lack of confidence. 
Relative to the wider market, the E&P sector's performance this month looks even worse given that the S&P 500 is essentially flat. 
Clearly, crude oil hovering around $50 a barrel doesn't represent a return to the good old days. 
Equally, though, it isn't at the disastrous levels of a year ago. The futures "strip" -- the average price for the next 12 months -- has recovered from the sell-off in March and trades around the same level it jumped to in the aftermath of the OPEC supply-cut announcement at the end of November. 
Moreover, many E&P companies have already taken the opportunity to lock in prices at around that level via hedges, according to data from Bloomberg Intelligence, providing some protection against any weaker prices ahead. Meanwhile, rig counts, payrolls and services providers such as Halliburton Co. are sending strong signals of a rebound in U.S. onshore drilling. 
When earnings season for E&P firms kicks off next week, the messaging, at least, will be pretty bullish in terms of growth plans (and that is what tends to count in this sector). Questions about cost inflation, the shadow hanging over the industry for the past year, will likely be less urgent than on prior calls, given that oilfield-services stocks are down almost as much as their E&P counterparts. So why so glum?
Click here to read this entire article.

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Gulfport Energy Provides First Quarter Update

From a Gulfport Energy press release:
Gulfport Energy Corporation (NASDAQ:GPOR) (“Gulfport” or the “Company”) today provided an update for the quarter ended March 31, 2017. Key information includes the following: 
  • Net production during the first quarter of 2017 averaged 849.6 MMcfe per day, an 8% increase over the fourth quarter of 2016 and a 23% increase versus the first quarter of 2016.
  • Realized natural gas price, before the impact of derivatives and including transportation costs, averaged $2.68 per Mcf during the first quarter of 2017, a $0.63 per Mcf differential to the average trade month NYMEX settled price.
  • Realized oil price, before the impact of derivatives and including transportation costs, averaged $47.52 per barrel during the first quarter of 2017, a $4.34 per barrel differential to the average WTI oil price.
  • Realized natural gas liquids price, before the impact of derivatives and including transportation costs, averaged $0.63 per gallon, equivalent to $26.46 per barrel, during the first quarter of 2017, or approximately 51% of the average WTI oil price. 
Chief Executive Officer and President, Michael G. Moore commented, “Gulfport’s first quarter results reflect the team’s continued focus on execution and our ability to further increase efficiencies in the field and deliver on results ahead of expectations. Our first quarter production of 849.6 million cubic feet per day came in above expectations, driven by the continued strong performance of our Utica Shale assets and the team’s ability to track ahead of expectations for the scheduled turn-in-lines during the quarter. In addition, during the quarter we commissioned field level compression in an affected gathering area in the Utica Shale and the initial results performed above expectations. We closed the acquisition of the SCOOP assets from Vitruvian II Woodford, LLC on February 17, 2017, and since the closing have been running four operated rigs on the acreage and began Gulfport’s first operated completions in the play. The frac design on these wells includes an enhanced completion when compared to historical practices for the area and we recently began flowback on this pad and look forward to providing initial production results in the coming weeks. On the realization front, we posted strong first quarter results, illustrating the benefits of our existing marketing portfolio in the Utica Shale. To further complement this and secure the movement of Gulfport’s anticipated SCOOP production, during the first quarter we executed a firm transportation commitment with Midship Pipeline Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cheniere Energy, on the Midship Project, securing foundation shipper status and providing our molecules delivery to premium end-markets beginning in early 2019. Our first quarter production and pricing results were very encouraging and we are excited as we look forward to the remainder of the year, as we integrate a new core asset into the portfolio, providing the investment community with a diversified, high-growth opportunity in two of North America’s lowest cost natural gas basins.”
Read the whole release by clicking here. 

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Over $1 Billion Invested in Mahoning Valley, Highlighted by Lordstown Energy Project

From Business Journal Daily:
Boosted by the Lordstown Energy Center project, private companies invested more than $1 billion last year in the Mahoning Valley, according to data released Monday by the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber. 
The data, compiled by the chamber and its economic development partners and published in the 2016 Economic Development Report Card, show 111 projects resulted in investment of $1.09 billion, 1,253 new jobs and 3,092 retained jobs. 
The chamber, in partnership with 15 agencies, gathers data annually on economic development investment in the Valley. The development agencies pool resources to assist companies with infrastructure investment, tax incentives, loans, project coordination, grant oversight, technical advisement, property development and other services.
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Friday, April 21, 2017

Fracking Generates $200 Million for Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District

by Jackie Stewart, Energy in Depth

Perhaps one of the best examples of how fracking is a win for the environment and the economy can be found in Ohio, where fracking has brought more than $200 million in mineral lease and royalty revenue to the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) since 2011. A direct result of leases signed with Utica Shale developers in the eastern portion of the district, the revenue has been used to improve the watershed of this political subdivision of the State of Ohio, proving that conservation and shale development can work hand-in-hand.
Created in 1933, MWCD is tasked to reduce flooding and conserve water for beneficial uses in the Muskingum Watershed, which covers nearly 20 percent of the state. Today, the MWCD covers 8,000 square miles with 16 dams and reservoirs that provide flood reduction, recreation and water conservation for the region.
Given its location in the state, partnering with the oil and gas industry is nothing new for the MWCD. As you can see in the chart above, the MWCD received royalty payments before additional Utica Shale leasing took place in 2011. Since its inception, the MWCD has entered into leases and allowed conventional oil and gas development on its lands for the past 81 years.  Today, the MWCD has an estimated 120 producing wells on MWCD-owned property and is receiving royalties from 29 Utica Shale wells.  The proceeds from leasing and royalty payments become a critical way for the MWCD to fund its operations and make improvements to the watershed. In fact, the influx of capital enabled the Capital Improvement Plan that was initiated in 2015 and is slated for completion in 2022. The Capital Improvement Plan includes major improvements to public parks, campgrounds and marinas among other things.
As the MWCD recently said,
“It’s an exciting time for the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District over the next 5 to 7 years, and is really a renaissance of sorts. We are in a position where we can partner with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in properly maintaining the 83-year-old flood control system which has been so important to the survival of many communities in the District. In addition, the new found revenue generated from Utica gas leasing opportunities now affords the district the opportunity to modernize our public parks, campgrounds and marinas to a level that our customers want and deserve.And of course, we can now augment our 18 county conservation program to coordinate and promote overall watershed management and water quality initiatives that are so vitally important to sustainable existence, as water is one of our most precious resources. As responsible stewards we foresee the future of MWCD on solid ground for the next 80 years.” (Emphasis added)
Of course, with such a focus on conservation, the MWCD and producers have worked together to provide the most conservation-friendly leases to ensure that the beauty of the MWCD will not be disrupted. Their leases include non-development provisions that prevent any rigs, lease roads, pipelines or compressor stations to be placed on MWCD-owned land.  Again, with a focus on conservation, the MWCD sold much of the water used for development via temporary water lines to well sites.  These temporary lines were responsible for removing 18,000 water truck trips in Harrison County alone.


These temporary water sales are a great idea to help increase revenue for the MWCD, too, considering there is plenty of water to go around for everyone in the area. For example, the Seneca Lake summertime pool holds over 14 billion gallons of water. However, in the event of a serious drought condition, the MWCD does have the authority to shut down any water sales to protect its customers and residents.
Ironically, and not surprisingly, when negotiations for leasing and water contracts were underway, anti-fracking groups such as the Fresh Water Accountability Project were engaged in fearmongering with baseless claims that fracking would cause groundwater contamination and inhibit the very purpose of the MWCD. Of course, that hasn’t happened, and in fact the most extensive groundwater study in Ohio by the University of Cincinnati found that there has been “no evidence for natural gas contamination from shale oil and gas mining in any of the sampled groundwater wells of our study.” The simple fact is that for the past six years there have been 29 Utica Shale wells developed (by fracking) which have contributed greatly to the $200 million poured into the MWCD. This has allowed for vast capital improvements and at the end of the day has supported the core function of the MWCD — to reduce flooding and conserve water for beneficial uses in the Muskingum Watershed.
This is just the latest example of how mineral leasing on Ohio state lands has provided huge benefits for areas that have leased. MWCD proves that leasing state lands for oil and gas development has been a win-win. It’s a win for taxpayers, for the state, and for the vast recreational uses that the lands provide. Thanks to the $200 million fracking has generated for the MWCD to support major improvements to public parks, campgrounds and marinas, the outlook for summertime fun at the MWCD looks brighter than ever.

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Oil Producers Relying More on Technology to Deal With Changing Landscape

From Bloomberg:
The nodding donkey was invented nearly a century ago, and it’s still hard at work in the oil patch, virtually unchanged, pumping oil out of the ground. There’s been a recent innovation, though: Algorithms adjust the extraction flow based on computer monitoring hundreds of feet below. 
Finally. “Onshore North America used to be a market where state-of-the-art technology went to be humiliated,” said Tom Curran, an energy analyst at FBR Capital Markets & Co. “You’ve had a clear shift occur where onshore North America for the first time in recent history has become a technology play.” 
The worst crude-market crash in a generation propelled energy companies into the digital world. They had already pretty much tested their physical limits with brute strength, ramping up injections of sand to tease more oil out of subterranean pockets and drilling wells longer and longer. Now they’re using DNA sequencing to track crude molecules and mapping buried streams with imaging software. Robots are fitting pipes together. Roughnecks consult mobile apps for drilling-direction advice. Oilfield services providers find themselves in a new arms race, led by giant Schlumberger Ltd., which recently opened an office on Sand Hill Road in the heart of Silicon Valley.
Read the rest of the article by clicking here.

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Researcher: Anti-Fracking Studies ‘Cannot Tell Us That Oil and Gas Caused Any of These Health Outcomes’

by Aileen Yeung, Energy in Depth

Her team’s latest study that claims adverse health impacts associated with oil and natural gas development “cannot tell us that oil and gas caused any of these health outcomes,” admitted Lisa McKenzie, a researcher whose work is routinely cited by anti-fossil fuel activists, on a conference call hosted by an anti-fracking group last week. The call came after the study was debunked and disavowed by state health officials, and after her team already conceded that its latest findings “do not provide enough evidence to say that living near oil and gas wells causes leukemia or does not cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma.”
A team led by McKenzie, an assistant research professor at the University of Colorado, released a new study earlier this year that attempted to link oil and natural gas development to childhood leukemia. The study immediately became a talking point for “ban fracking” activists, even though it was quickly discredited by state health officials.
During the conference call last week, McKenzie said,
“What these studies cannot tell us is they cannot tell us that oil and gas caused any of these health outcomes. They’re not sufficient to make that temporal connection.”
“None of these studies show that living near O&G [oil & gas] wells caused the health outcome,” McKenzie noted in her presentation:
Source: McKenzie’s April 13 presentation on the health implications of oil and gas development.

During the call, McKenzie also listed gaps in research about the health impacts of oil and natural gas development, such as baseline data, data on “actual exposures,” and confounding factors, that one would expect to be critical to establishing cause and effect for health outcomes:
“First of all, we don’t have studies out there that tell us what the baseline exposures were, so what were the levels of air contaminants and water contaminants before oil and gas development came into the area. We also are lacking data on what the actual exposures to people are. So we have concentrations in ambient air, we have some information on water, but we have very little information on what people living in oil and gas development areas are actually being exposed to. … We also need to get a better understanding, is it the oil and gas development in the area that is the source of exposures or is it something else in these areas that could be associated with these health outcomes.”
Source: McKenzie’s April 13 presentation on the health implications of oil and gas development.
Quick reproof from state health officials followed by sheepish concessions from the researchers appears to be the chain of events we can expect of studies produced by McKenzie’s team. Her team’s 2014 paper that attempted to link oil and natural gas development to birth defects was promptly disavowed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and its 2012 paper that attempted to connect proximity to natural gas wells to increased cancer risks forced concessions and qualifications from McKenzie on the findings.
Given McKenzie’s ties to activists determined to stop oil and natural gas development, the anti-fracking bent of her research is altogether unsurprising. Last week’s conference call was hosted by The Endocrine Disruption Exchange, which has claimed that the oil and natural gas industry is “steamrolling over vast land segments in the West” and has called oil and gas operations “cancer-like.”
McKenzie is also slated to speak at an upcoming event organized by “ban fracking” activists alongside Anthony Ingraffea, a “self-admitted advocate” whose research against oil and natural gas development has been repeatedly debunked; Dan Leftwich, an attorney who supports extreme activists and anti-fracking campaigns in Colorado; and Josh Joswick, an Earthworks organizer who has called the campaign against the oil and natural gas industry a “street fight,” “bar fight,” and a “back-alley fight.”
The “ban fracking” speaking circuit may be all that McKenzie can resort to these days. After all, she was originally scheduled to speak at a Broomfield town hall meeting in February but was removed from the agenda after her latest study was discredited by state officials.

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Two Spills Have Occurred During Construction of Rover Pipeline

From The Columbus Dispatch:
Crews installing the Rover pipeline dumped an estimated 2 million gallons of drilling mud into two Ohio wetlands, according to a notice of violations filed with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. 
Once constructed, the $4.2 billion underground pipeline will run from Washington County in southeast Ohio northwest to Defiance and connect with pipelines to send Ohio natural gas to markets nationwide. 
The larger spill coated 500,000 square feet of a wetland adjacent to the Tuscarawas River in Northeast Ohio with as much as 2 million gallons of bentonite clay mud, which is used as a drilling lubricant. 
The drilling fluid is not toxic and won’t harmf the environment, Alexis Daniel, a spokeswoman for the Rover Pipeline, said in an email statement. 
The company has ceased operations at its Navarre-area site and constructed barriers to keep the mud from reaching the river while vacuum trucks and pumping systems continue cleanup efforts.
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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

EIA Predicts May Will See Biggest U.S. Oil Production Increase in Two Years

U.S. shale production in May was set for its biggest monthly increase in more than two years, government data showed on Monday, as producers stepped up their drilling activity with oil prices hovering at over $50 a barrel. 
May output is set to rise by 123,000 barrels per day to 5.19 million bpd, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's drilling productivity report. That would be the biggest monthly increase since February 2015 and the highest monthly production level since November 2015. 
In the prolific Permian play located in West Texas and New Mexico, oil production is forecast to rise by nearly 76,000 bpd to 2.36 million bpd, data showed, a new record for the largest U.S. shale play. 
In the Eagle Ford region, output is set to rise by 39,000 bpd to 1.22 million bpd, the third monthly increase. Production in the Bakken is forecast to drop 1,400 bpd to 1.02 million bpd, the third consecutive monthly decline.
Further, this comes from CNBC:
Oil prices hit their lowest in 11 days on Tuesday on news that U.S. shale oil output in May is expected to post the biggest monthly increase in more than two years, fueling concerns that U.S. production growth is undermining efforts to cut oversupply. 
U.S. government drilling data showed shale production next month was set to rise to 5.19 million barrels per day (bpd), with output from the Permian play, the largest U.S. shale region, expected to reach a record 2.36 million bpd. 
Global benchmark Brent crude futures were down 49 cents at $54.87 a barrel at 1038 GMT. They touched $54.76 intraday, the lowest since April 7.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures traded down 46 cents at $52.19 a barrel. Their intraday low was $52.16, also the weakest since April 7. 

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Rig Count and Permitting Activity Both Drop on Latest ODNR Report

New permits issued last week: 8  (Previous week: 15-7
Total horizontal permits issued: 2469  (Previous week: 2461+8
Total horizontal wells drilled: 1964  (Previous week: 1951+13
Total horizontal wells producing: 1540  (Previous week: 1534+6
Utica rig count: 19  (Previous week: 20)  -1

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Wealthiest County in America is Driven by Shale

From Bloomberg:
There are three good guesses for which U.S. county has the the highest adjusted gross incomes (AGI): New York County, otherwise known as Manhattan; Connecticut’s Fairfield County, where those rich Manhattanites land when they want a lawn; and Wyoming’s Teton County, home of Jackson Hole, where the richest of the rich go to play and sometimes stay.

As you run out of reasons to procrastinate (the deadline to file your taxes is Tuesday!), chew on this: The correct answer is McMullen County, Texas. This rectangle, about 70 miles northwest of Corpus Christi, is home to 8,000 living people and, in Boot Hill Cemetery, dead ones who saw violent ends and were—as the saying goes—buried “with their boots on.” The average AGI in McMullen County per federal return in 2015 was a whopping $303,717, according to a database search on the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). 1
On the county level at least, income from shale oil in South Texas overshadowed East Coast stock market wealth, the numbers reveal. “I joke that oil and gas finally made ranching profitable,” said Thomas Tunstall, research director for the Institute for Economic Development at the University of Texas at San Antonio. “A lot of old Texas families live on large ranches in McMullen County, and the older generation went through tough times prior to five years ago.” Now, he said with mock horror, he’s hearing about Bentleys, rather than F-150s, driving down those gravel roads.
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Beck Energy's Battle With Munroe Falls Continues

From Gas & Oil:
An oil and gas drilling company has dropped four counterclaims it has made against the city of Munroe Falls, but legal wrangling in the case concerning a well on the Sonoco paper mill property is not over. 
According to Summit County Court of Common Pleas records, Ravenna based Beck Energy dismissed its counterclaims, in which the company contended the city had violated its rights and was asking for unspecified damages, against the city on Feb. 1 in a declaratory judgment case filed by the city in May 2016. 
However, on Feb. 3, Beck Energy then filed a motion asking the court for sanctions against the city. The company is claiming that the court case is “frivolous” because it involves a question already dealt with by an earlier Ohio Supreme Court case. Beck is therefore asking the court to order the city to compensate it for “court costs, attorney fees, and other reasonable expenses” Beck is spending on the case. 
“They’re saying basically we’re re-litigating old business,” Munroe Falls Law Director Tom Kostoff told City Council Feb. 7.
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Anti-Driller in Dimock Sues Driller Despite Previously Accepting a Settlement

From The Times-Tribune:
Two weeks after a judge reversed a $4.24 million well contamination verdict against Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., another Dimock Twp. resident filed a federal lawsuit alleging the company’s Marcellus Shale drilling operations contaminated his well water. 
Ray Kemble claims Cabot’s negligence in drilling natural gas well pads contaminated the well water at his home on Route 3023 with toxic chemicals and high levels of methane. 
Kevin Cunningham, a spokesman for Cabot, said Kemble’s lawsuit appears to include claims that were resolved by a settlement he reached with Cabot years ago. 
“Mr. Kemble has been active for years in the media voicing his opposition to development of natural gas in Pennsylvania and this suit appears to be a continuation of that monologue,” Cunningham said in a statement. “Cabot intends to vigorously defend the lawsuit.”
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Friday, April 14, 2017

Community “Disgusted” As Columbus Teachers Force Pre-K Students to Protest Wayne Fracking

by Jackie Stewart, Energy in Depth

After the Columbus Dispatch exposed how teachers at Little Dreamers, Big Believers daycare forced preschool children to submit public comment to protest fracking around the Wayne National forest, criticism from the community has come pouring in.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, the teachers told  children to make drawings of their opposition to leasing in the Wayne. The children characterized it this way to the Dispatch:
“The children, whose ages range from 3 to 5 years, gave all kinds of reasons for defending the forest. Trees are pretty. They are good for climbing and spotting bird nests. And they help humans breathe.”
The teachers even went so far as to submit their drawings as “formal public comment” to the Bureau of Land Management, although what exactly they are protesting is unclear as the June lease sale will not include any minerals for sale in the Wayne. One day after the story ran, a letter to the editor was published by a local resident of Columbus stating that he was “disgusted” that teachers are forcing their personal views on kids. As Michael Federer from the Columbus area said,
“These are children ages 3 to 5. I am disgusted with another example of “teachers” (I use the word loosely) manipulating children to make points about something that the children can’t begin to understand. One teacher said, “This world belongs to them, their day is almost here.” Is she kidding?”
Ohio State Representative Andy Thompson, who represents the Marietta Unit of the Wayne National Forest and supports leasing in the forest, told EID,
“So now we’re taking our cues on energy policy from kindergarteners? I believe educators should focus on helping children to master the three Rs, rather than trying to impose their political beliefs on these unsuspecting tykes.”
If that isn’t bad enough, these anti-fracking teachers are trying to force children to protest funding from going to some of the poorest school districts in the state – schools that “hope to see funds from the Wayne National Forest leases”. Prohibiting leasing of federal minerals would directly hurt local schools in Rep. Thompson’s district. As the Parkersburg News & Sentinel reported, schools in Appalachia are in desperate need of support from the leasing of federal minerals in the Wayne Forest. Frontier Local Schools’ Treasurer Lee Howard explained exactly why that is, stating,
“The Wayne does not pay regulator property taxes like private landowners. So we only get a stipend from them from they choose to provide as payment in lieu of taxes. But if they were to develop horizontal drilling or hydraulic fracturing connecting private and federal lands in our district, we could benefit not only from royalties but also the value of utility construction.”
As EID has pointed out time and time again, the Wayne National Forest is not contiguous; it’s a patchwork of acreages that includes private lands and minerals throughout, which makes gaining access to federal minerals for subsurface development critical. Without access to these federal minerals adjacent private minerals are not able to be developed fully.
In short, Ohio schools have much to gain from fracking and especially in areas surrounding the Wayne National Forest. Sadly, it appears that these preschool and kindergarten children are being fed misinformation despite the fact the Bureau of Land Management found that the forest would in fact incur “no significant impact” from federal mineral development. As Ohio Representative Thompson rightly said, teachers should be educating our children, using facts, not misguided and personal political ideologies.

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U.S. Shale Investment Increases Again

From Bloomberg View:
Global upstream oil and gas merger and acquisitions reached $136 billion in 2016, according to Evaluate Energy's global M&A 2016 review. And one area seeing a jump in activity was the U.S. Marcellus shale, where close to eight times more was invested in asset and corporate acquisitions in 2016 than in 2015. 
The Marcellus formation, which runs through northern Appalachia, primarily in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New York and Ohio, is considered the second-largest natural gas field in the world, after Northfield in Qatar and Iran. Marcellus spans approximately 60.8 million net acres with an estimated 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, about 50 trillion cubic feet of which is recoverable using current technology. 
In 2015, the U.S. shale industry was one of the main casualties of the oil price downturn, suffering a 75 percent drop in year-on-year merger and acquisition spending to $13 billion. This amount was the lowest annual M&A U.S. shale spend since 2009. A reshuffling of asset portfolios in 2016 redirected investments away from the Permian basin, and toward the Marcellus Shale which, which led to resurgence in deals as well as natural gas output. The M&A spend in the shale industry bounced back to $48 billion during 2016, representing a 269 percent increase year on year.
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