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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Op-Ed: High Tech Shale Jobs Not Getting the Attention They Deserve

From the Washington Examiner comes an op-ed about the high-tech jobs available in the oil and gas industry, and how they get short-changed:
If there is mud on the floor, they say in the shale industry, that means cash is coming in the door. That is, when workers are out in the field and the boots are getting dirty, money is being made. 
Thanks to an infusion of high technology driving the natural gas industry, it’s not just about dirty boots anymore – and it’s a good story. It’s a marriage of advanced technologies and dirt-under-your-nails hard work rarely told, because extracting shale is not a popular business politically. 
Fracking, it turns out, is the one high-tech industry not embraced by politicians in Pittsburgh who are rushing to embrace the likes of Uber and Google. 
Why? Because local progressive Democrats, very vocal climate activists, and the burgeoning Democratic Socialists of America party demand a wholesale repudiation of the natural gas industry. Local Democratic officials thus have to oppose fracking or risk losing in a Democratic primary.

Today’s natural gas industry isn’t the same petroleum job your grandfather or your father would have applied for. It not only attracts computer scientists, software engineers, mathematicians, and geologists to relocate to Western Pennsylvania from around the country, but it also provides careers for locals who thought those good jobs left for good when the coal mines and steel mills closed a generation ago.
Read more by clicking here.

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Monday, August 13, 2018

Agreement Reached for $31 Million in Payments for Harrison Hills Power Plant

From the Times Reporter:
The Harrison Hills City School District, as well as Harrison County and its villages and townships, will share $31 million over 15 years as a result of a donation agreement reached with the developer of a $1 billion power plant to be constructed in Cadiz. 
An announcement of the agreement was made by Nick Homrighausen, Harrison County’s Executive Director of Community & Economic Development, on Tuesday evening. 
The agreement is commonly called a PILOT agreement – Payment in Lieu Of Taxes – whereby the developer agrees to make contributions to local political subdivisions while receiving an exemption from paying property taxes on the plant. In this case, Harrison County provided a 15 year tax exemption as an incentive to attract this billion dollar investment into the county. 
According to the agreement, payments are to be $2.5 million in each of the first two years, and then $2 million each in the third through 15th years. Construction of the plant is to begin this fall, beginning operation in 2021. Under that schedule, payments would also begin in 2021. 
Of the $31 million, 45 percent – a total of almost $14 million – will go to the Harrison Hills City School District, which by law, agreed to the tax abatement.
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Utica Rig Count On the Rise Again in Latest ODNR Report

New permits issued last week: 9  (Previous week: 8+1
Total horizontal permits issued: 2863  (Previous week: 2854+9
Total horizontal wells drilled: 2391 (Previous week: 2385+6
Total horizontal wells producing: 1945 (Previous week: 1938+7
Utica rig count: 20 (Previous week: 18)  +2

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Higher Oil Prices Brings On Increased Spending from Shale Drillers

From Reuters:
U.S. shale producers that spent the last year promising to control capital spending and adhere to strict financial controls are finding the lure of higher oil prices irresistible. 
Several, including producers Parsley Energy (PE.N), Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD.N) and Continental Resources (CLR.N), this week joined others that already raised capital spending, citing higher costs and a desire to accelerate drilling and well completions programs amid strong pricing. 
Last year, investors pressured shale companies, hard-bitten by the 2014 downturn in prices, to rein in spending and return more capital to shareholders through dividends and share buybacks, selling stocks of companies that spent more on drilling.

Oil prices have climbed by about 40 percent in the past year, with the U.S. benchmark CLc1 on Wednesday around $67 per barrel. That run up helped push U.S. production to a record 11 million barrels per day in July, increasing demand for services and tightening labor markets. 
Derek Rollingson, portfolio manager of the ICON Energy Fund (ICENX.O), which holds shares of more than a dozen U.S. shale producers, said increasing capital spending makes sense with oil prices expected to rise in coming months. 
“It makes sense in this environment given the strength of the forward (oil) contracts,” he said.
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Chesapeake Reaches Settlement With Some PA Landowners in Lawsuit Over Royalty Scheme

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Chesapeake Energy Corp. has reached a $7.75 million settlement agreement with about two-thirds of its Pennsylvania natural gas royalty owners who claimed that the company inflated transportation and marketing costs, often leaving them with paltry payments for their gas. 
The agreement applies to about 10,000 early Chesapeake leases located mainly in northeastern Pennsylvania that do not have so-called market enhancement clauses, which limited the kinds of deductions the company could take from a landowner’s share of gas sales. 
It aims to resolve two class-action lawsuits filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania in 2014 known as Brown v. Access Midstream Partners and The Suessenbach Family Limited Partnership v. Access Midstream Partners. 
Access Midstream was once Chesapeake’s pipeline subsidiary and is now owned by Tulsa, Okla.-based Williams. 
If the settlement is approved by a judge, royalty owners who don’t opt out of the agreement will get a proportional share of some of the past costs that Chesapeake subtracted from royalty payments and the ability to choose from two options for how royalties will be paid going forward.
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Report: Shale Saved Ohio Natural Gas Consumers More Than $40 Billion Over 10 Years

by Jackie Stewart, Energy in Depth

A new Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) report highlights how domestic shale development saved Ohio consumers more than $40 billion from 2006 to 2016 by driving down natural gas prices. Thanks to prolific natural gas production in the Appalachian Basin, the region now boasts the lowest natural gas prices in the world — and at the end of the day, that means billions in savings to natural gas consumers.
The report echoes a similar 2017 University of Pennsylvania Appalachian Basin study that credited the abundance of Marcellus Shale natural gas for a 40 percent reduction in Pennsylvania natural gas bills over the last decade. Nationally, the 2017 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook found that record-low natural gas prices enabled consumers to devote “less than 4% of their total annual household spending to energy in 2016, the smallest share ever recorded by the US government.”
The CEA report breaks down Ohio’s cost savings, showing that Ohio residential customers saved close to $15 billion during the 10-year period, while commercial and industrial consumers saved more than $25 billion.
What’s even more staggering is the downward trajectory in the price of natural gas before and after domestic shale development took off in earnest. Before shale, natural gas prices peaked at $10.66, while these prices decreased to just under $4 in 2016 – a 62 percent drop – after the shale revolution took hold in Ohio.
The shale-driven savings for Ohio consumers did not stop there. The CEA report also explains that Ohio gasoline prices have plummeted since 2011. The price at the pump for the Buckeye State was about $4.15 per gallon in 2011, with no end in sight. Domestic oil production from shale has helped to lower gasoline prices, saving drivers an estimated $115 billion or $1,100 per household in one year alone, according to AAA.
According to the report, there are 1.7 million Ohioans — 14.6 percent of the state’s population — living below the poverty line. For those that fall into this demographic, energy expenditures require a quarter of their take-home pay. As Action For Boston Community Development’s John Wells told National Journal in 2013, “Low natural-gas prices have been a godsend to low-income families.”
And as CEA’s Midwest Executive Director Chris Ventura stated,
“Lower fuel prices have helped Ohioans save over $40 billion in the past decade. This means families have more money to pay for school clothes, grocery bills, and perhaps even to take a vacation that has been put off for far too long.”
EID‘s 2014 video on consumer savings also explained the importance of these lower energy costs for low-income families and American consumers.
Notably, while the facts and quotes within the video and the following infographic are still very much relevant, as this recent CEA report and the 2017 University of Pennsylvania study show, these trends have continued to improve since 2014. And they are having very real benefits for Ohioans.

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Friday, August 10, 2018

Bloomingdale and Ascent Resources at Odds Over Road and Permit Issues

From WTOV:
The village of Bloomingdale is pushing for natural gas company Ascent Resources to help resolve issues with roads and permits.

One of the Jefferson County commissioners joined the mayor and council Thursday night after complaints about leases and road use agreements.

Bloomingdale Mayor David Gaffney said the issues with Ascent Resources are several. He said he wants the company to come to the table for more fair arrangements on leases, road use agreements and fixing already-damaged roads.

Gaffney and council were prepared to pass a resolution to start a legal process to force Ascent Resources to the table on several issues, but one missing council member led to a lack of quorum.

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FERC Grants One Rover Pipeline Requests, Continues to Hold Up Others Until Company Follows Through on Restoration Work

From NGI:
FERC on Wednesday issued a certificate order approving a new meter station designed to allow Rover Pipeline LLC to tap additional supplies out of eastern Ohio via its its Burgettstown Lateral. 
UGS would build 5,060 feet of 12-inch diameter pipe to connect to the station, while Rover (UGS) Uploaded by Utica Gas Services LLC (UGS) has proposed building an ultrasonic meter skid and other ancillary facilities in Jefferson County near Mile Post 30.5 of its Burgettstown line, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission documents show. 
The project, estimated to cost $ 4.7 million, will be located within the existing Burgettstown Lateral right-of-way. 
According to FERC's certificate order, Range Resources Appalachia LLC plans to use the UGS-Crawford station as a secondary receipt point into the supply area of ​​Rover's system. 
"Range Resources will compensate UGS for its costs, and the costs incurred by Rover, for metering facilities constructed at the Burgettstown Lateral receipt point," according to FERC.
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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Cabot Sets Up Office in Jeromesville as Company Targets Knox Formation

From the Ashland Source:
With exploratory drilling of fracking wells underway in Ashland County, Cabot Oil & Gas has set up a local office in Jeromesville.

The Houston-based company marked the move with a ribbon cutting Monday at the newly leased office at 31 W. Main Street.

"We were looking for a central location where we could be able to interact with the community, and this was the perfect spot... A lot of people have questions, and we want to provide answers," said George Stark, director of external affairs for Cabot's north region.

The questions surround Cabot's current activities and future plans in Ashland and surrounding counties.

The company is looking for fossil fuels-- either oil or natural gas-- below the Utica Shale formation. Cabot plans to drill at least five exploratory wells by the end of the year.
Read more by clicking here.

And then, from NGI:
With one exploratory prospect in West Texas scrapped, Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. continues to work a hunch that the old oilfields of north-central Ohio might hold promise that can be unlocked with unconventional drilling. 
The company currently has three permits to drill exploratory wells in three townships in Ashland County, about 50 miles west of Canton, according to Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) records. A Cabot representative has also told local news media that tests could be done on up to five wells in Ashland and nearby Richland County. 
Over the years, the Knox's three main members - Each of the three sites is permitted for a vertical stratigraphic test targeting the Rome formation, - the Beekmantown, Rose Run and Copper Ridge - have been widely developed by legacy oil and gas producers in the state. 
The Cambrian-aged dolomite and sandstone rocks, some of the oldest in the Appalachian Basin, all sit below the Knox Unconformity, an erosional surface underneath the Trenton Limestone and the prolific Utica / Point Pleasant formations. The Knox made a name for itself in the 1960s, when more than 30 million bbl of oil and associated natural gas are produced during the Morrow County oil boom, one of the country's last unregulated gushers that evolved in backyards, cemeteries, parks or anywhere else that leasing rights could be acquired. 
They moved too quickly on tight spacing and depleted the formation pressures, said Youngstown State University's Jeffrey Dick, a geology professor who directs the Natural Gas and Water Resources Institute.
Read that whole article by clicking here. 

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Pilot Flying J Looking for Drivers in Carroll County

From The Canton Repository:
Motorists traveling the southern edge of Canton certainly have noticed the Pilot Travel Center with its red, yellow and white canopy over the fueling stations. 
The prominent truck stop and retail plaza, also known as Pilot Flying J, in the 2300 block of Faircrest Street SW represents the retail end, the final product of the petroleum industry. 
But in Carroll County, the Knoxville, Tenn.,-based corporation also is thriving at the front end of the petroleum products industry, the one the consumer seldom sees. 
Demand for Pilot Flying J Crude Division’s transport services is to the point where the corporation needs more drivers to haul crude oil from well sites to the refineries. 
“Right now we have 24 drivers here in the Carrollton yard,” said Christian Whitlock of Pilot Flying J. “We are looking to hire 10 more. They can’t get enough drivers. It is a drivers’ market right now. We have 14 trucks. There is plenty of it (petroleum) out there. We expect it to be here for a long time.” 
Whitlock oversees the Pilot Flying J truck terminal in the 4100 block of Canton Road NW (state Route 43) in Carroll County’s Harrison Township.
Continue the article by clicking here

Click here to visit the Pilot J site, where you can apply for a job.  Let them know you saw their ad on The Daily Digger website!

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Chesapeake Energy Continuing to Drill in Utica Shale Despite Sale

From the Morning Journal:
Chesapeake Energy may be selling its Utica Shale oil and gas assets in Ohio but the company is continuing to drill new wells in Columbiana County.

Chesapeake’s subsidiary, Chesapeake Exploration, has applied to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources seeking permits to drill two new horizontal wells at an existing drill site in Washington Township. The site is the Sevek farm off Clarks Mill Road. 
The news comes 10 days after Houston-based Encino Acquisition Partners announced it had reached an agreement with Chesapeake to acquire all 933,000 net acres of leasehold spanning the condensate, liquids-rich and dry gas windows of the Utica play in Ohio. The deal is worth $2 billion and expected to be concluded sometime in the fourth quarter.
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OOGEEP Wants People to Know About Jobs Available in Oil and Gas Industry

From The Daily Jeffersonian:
For those looking for alternatives to a four-year college, high-paying trade jobs are readily available.

“We’ve done a disservice telling people they need to get a degree. It’s trades we need,” said Rhonda Reda, Executive Director at OOGEEP, or Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program, a nonprofit group.

The organization travels around the state educating people on the many different careers available within the industry. Reda spoke at a “Coffee and Commerce” informational session hosted by the Cambridge Area Chamber of Commerce at the Southgate Hotel in Cambridge on Thursday.

“People often don’t realize home many jobs are out there,” said Reda. “They only think of the guy on the oil rig, but there are 82 different careers in this field.”

According to the U.S. Department of Education, people with technical training are more likely to be employed in their field than those with academic degrees.

“We’re constantly talking about how we can create jobs and keep them here,” said Jo Sexton, president of the Cambridge Area Chamber of Commerce. “This is one of the ways we can do that.”
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New Drilling Mud Facility Will Bring Jobs to Monroe County

From WTOV 9:
A handful of new jobs will be coming to Monroe County with a new facility opening in Woodsfield. 
The oil and gas industry continued its growth in Eastern Ohio on Thursday, as American Mud Works opened their new facility in Monroe County. 
"Today with this grand opening and this ribbon cutting, it's just another example of that continued investment that Utica Shale development has spurred here in Eastern Ohio," said Ohio Oil and Gas Association PR Director Mike Chadsey. 
American Mud Works is ready for business, officially opening the doors to a drilling fluids and manufacturing facility. 
This company produces specialized mud, which is used in horizontal drilling.

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ODNR Releases August 2018 Shale Activity Maps

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Permitting On the Rise in Utica Shale

New permits issued last week: 8  (Previous week: 5+3
Total horizontal permits issued: 2854  (Previous week: 2844) +10
Total horizontal wells drilled: 2385 (Previous week: 2382+3
Total horizontal wells producing: 1938 (Previous week: 1930+8
Utica rig count: 18 (Previous week: 18)  +-0

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Friday, August 3, 2018

CELDF Back to Selling Bill of Goods with Columbus ‘Bill of Rights’

by Dan Alfaro, Energy in Depth

The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) is back in Ohio for another attempt to advance its misguided cause, this time targeting the capital city of Columbus. The new Columbus “Bill of Rights” features more or less the same language used in previous unsuccessful CELDF-led local control efforts in the state. While Energy In Depth has covered CELDF’s tactics and objectives at length in the past, it is still an important development for the residents of Columbus, and one to fully understand and actively oppose.
The measure – which would aim to effectively ban fracking and waste disposal in the City of Columbus – garnered enough signatures to be placed on the city’s November ballot. If passed by voters, the ordinance would also seek to curtail a number of other industries and necessary infrastructure projects, including the development of pipelines used to heat the homes, businesses and residential structures of the rapidly expanding city.
As a reminder, Ohio courts have ruled on local control issues pertaining to a variety of industries in recent years, and in each instance determined the state of Ohio has primacy over local governments in regulating issues and businesses that are of statewide interest and concern. The provisions found in H.B. 463 allow for legal rejection of charter amendment petitions. In 2015, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that the Home Rule clause of Ohio’s constitution does not give local governments the authority to supersede drilling activities that are permitted by the state. Put another way, the ordinance would stand little chance of being enforced, even if it were passed.
So why does it matter? Because CELDF’s latest misguided attempt to interfere in local politics will no doubt wind up costing taxpayers. Case in point, its efforts have cost the city of Youngstown more than $185,000 over a span of time that saw voters reject the issue seven consecutive times. That is why, even though it is obvious to anyone paying attention that absolutely no one is looking to develop oil and gas in (or anywhere remotely near) the City of Columbus, such a ban would still be a wasteful and burdensome endeavor.
But none of this is of concern to the group behind this effort. That’s because CELDF is not a group of local concerned citizens— it is actually a radical, out-of-state anti-fossil fuel activist group. As Columbus Underground reports:
“Their effort is backed by a national non-profit, the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), which aims to wrest jurisdiction over oil and gas activities from states to individual municipalities.”
To be clear: CELDF is hellbent on using Columbus as a shiny prop for its cause, regardless of the state its efforts would leave the city in. For CELDF, the collateral damage is an acceptable means to further its cause.
In Youngstown, it took a group of business, labor, education and community leaders banding together in opposition to halt these misguided efforts. The coalition, recognizing the damage the ordinance would do to their community and economic potential, went to great lengths to educate the public on what the organization’s true efforts are, and what impact they would have on the city. From the Vindicator:
“Here’s a partial list of the leaders: Youngstown State University President Jim Tressel; Mayor Jamael Tito Brown; the Rev. Kenneth Simon, pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church; the Democratic and Republican parties in Mahoning County; county commissioners Anthony Traficanti, Carol Rimedio-Righetti and David Ditzler; the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber; various labor organizations.”
Yes, that Jim Tressel.
This group was successful in fending off the latest CELDF effort in Youngstown, and remains committed to ensuring the community fights back against future attempts to stifle the city’s economic growth.
The Youngstown ordinance – which is nearly identical to the ordinance CELDF is attempting to place on the Columbus ballot – has been opposed by this coalition because it recognized the collateral damage it would leave in the form of stifling new business development in the city. The language of the ordinance eliminates the possibility of new business projects, a fact noted by Bill Padisak, president of the AFL-CIO Council of Mahoning and Trumbull Counties.
‘“We [the building trades unions] want to rebuild Youngstown,” he said. Had it be passed in the five earlier attempts, the language in the measure could have been interpreted to stop ‘the Youngstown City Annex project, the rehabilitation of the [Central] YMCA and the Mahoning County Courthouse’ because workmen could not install or replace gas lines to the buildings.”
CELDF has the audacity to continue to push its agenda despite knowing the harm it would cause the communities they target. A CELDF spokesman recently doubled-down with acknowledgement of the fact the initiatives have no legal standing, resulting in a waste of taxpayer dollars these communities must spend on legal and ballot related fees. The Dispatch reports:
“…the proposal, even if it is approved by voters, could be challenged in court. The initiative’s proposal to make it illegal to transport oil and gas waste across the city, for example, appears to conflict with federal laws governing interstate commerce.
“But Lyons said the initiative is still worth pursuing because it brings attention to what he believes is the unfairness of cities not having a say in oil and gas drilling.”
If this sentiment sounds familiar, it’s because it echoes that of the CELDF’s founder, attorney Thomas Linzey, who previously told Reuters that bankrupting a community might be “exactly what is needed.” Reuters reports:
“But Linzey says his goal is not to write local laws that are popular, or stand up in court, but rather to trigger a public debate about community rights to local self-government – even if it means a community ultimately falls into financial ruin…
“And if a town goes bankrupt trying to defend one of our ordinances, well, perhaps that’s exactly what is needed to trigger a national movement.”
This, as they say, is where the cows eat the cabbage. CELDF acknowledges its actions, which are in conflict with the state’s constitution, come at a cost to the community when they are inevitably challenged in court.
The Columbus City Council and the Franklin County Board of Elections have the opportunity to take a thorough look at who exactly is leading the charge on this issue, what their true objectives are, and what consequences of putting the issue on the ballot would have for the community. The group is ultimately looking to tout a Columbus ordinance as a “win” for its cause, and care not about the cost to the city for the legal challenge it will certainly meet, nor the collateral damage it would have on a number of industries if the ordinance were to ever be enacted.
Any so-called “Bill of Rights” charter proposals that run counter to state law will be challenged and ruled invalid. Both Medina County and Athens County Board of Elections voted to keep measures similar to the Columbus Bill of Rights and the Youngstown charters off the ballot, and both boards’ votes were swiftly upheld by the courts.
Columbus is a growing and vibrant city. According to the latest Census, it is the fourth fastest-growing city in the country. In order for that to continue successfully, the city needs pro-community, pro-business, commonsense laws. This one fails to meet that criteria. The community – and its elected leaders – have taken great measures to ensure the city, and the industries that operate in it, are strong stewards of the environment. This ordinance does nothing to further their success, and comes with the cost of placing unnecessary burdens on the taxpayers.

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Chesapeake Energy Done Selling Off After Unloading Utica Shale Assets

From The Canton Repository:
Chesapeake Energy said Wednesday the pending sale of its Utica Shale acreage would be the company’s last major asset sale in a strategy to reduce the driller’s debt.

Chesapeake released its second-quarter earnings Wednesday and held its first conference call with financial analysts since announcing the Utica sale last week.

Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake closed the quarter with a net loss for stockholders of $40 million or 4 cents per diluted share.

The company’s quarterly production averaged 530,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, nearly the same as a year ago. Utica Shale wells contributed one-fifth of production.

Chesapeake has a deal to sell its 933,000 Utica acres in Ohio to Encino Acquisition Partners of Houston for $2 billion.

The deal, expected to close in the fourth quarter, also calls for Chesapeake to get another $100 million based on future natural gas prices.
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FERC Still Blocking ETP from Completing Rover Pipeline Lateral Drilling

From Reuters:
Energy Transfer Partners LP (ETP) expects to restore land over several sections of the Rover natural gas pipeline from Ohio to Michigan by the end of August, it said in a regulatory filing posted on Wednesday, moving the project a step closer to full completion: 
* After Rover took longer than expected to restore land around some pipeline sections, the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) said in June that its review of future in-service requests “will depend, in part, on a demonstration of Rover’s commitment to satisfactory restoration of construction areas and workspaces.”

* Rover estimated it would complete final grading, seeding and other work by Aug. 31 on several Rover sections, including the Burgettstown lateral from Pennsylvania to Ohio, the Majorsville lateral from West Virginia to Ohio and the Market Segment from Ohio to Michigan. 
* Rover is the biggest of several pipelines expected to enter service over the next year to connect growing output in the Marcellus and Utica shale basins in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio with customers in other parts of the United States and Canada. 
* The $4.2 billion Rover project is designed to carry up to 3.25 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) of gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale fields to the U.S. Midwest and Gulf Coast as well as Ontario, Canada.
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Gulfport Energy Provides Update on Utica Shale Activity in 2nd Quarter of 2018

From Gulfport Energy's 2nd quarter report:
In the Utica Shale, during the second quarter of 2018, Gulfport spud seven gross (6.8 net) operated wells. The wells drilled during the second quarter of 2018 had an average lateral length of approximately 12,500 feet. Normalizing to an 8,000 foot lateral length, Gulfport's average drilling days during the second quarter of 2018 from spud to rig release totaled approximately 18.9 days, a decrease of 2% over full year 2017. In addition, Gulfport turned-to-sales 14 gross and net operated wells with an average stimulated lateral length of approximately 8,500 feet during the second quarter of 2018.

During the second quarter of 2018, net production from Gulfport’s Utica acreage averaged approximately 1,065.9 MMcfe per day, an increase of 3% over the first quarter of 2018 and an increase of 24% over the second quarter of 2017.

At present, Gulfport has two operated horizontal drilling rigs active in the play.
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Antero Resources Not Planning Any More Utica Wells in 2018

From Antero Resources 2nd quarter 2018 update:
Ohio Utica Shale — Antero placed five horizontal Ohio Utica wells to sales during the second quarter of 2018 with an average lateral length of approximately 15,900 feet and an average 30-day rate of 12.9 MMcfe/d per well on choke. Current average well costs are $0.95 million per 1,000 feet of lateral in the Ohio Utica assuming the 2018 average lateral length of 12,000 feet and 2,000 pounds of proppant per foot. The Company does not plan to operate any drilling rigs or completion crews in the Ohio Utica Shale during the remainder of 2018 as the second half 2018 development plan shifts to liquids-rich locations in the Marcellus due to the continued strength in liquids pricing. The Company’s current five year plan does include the resumption of drilling and completion activity in the Ohio Utica Shale in 2019. 
During the period, Antero drilled six wells in the Utica dry gas regime with an average lateral length of 12,900 feet in 20 total days from spud to final rig release. This represents a 4% decrease in drilling days and a 22% increase in lateral length in the Utica dry gas regime compared to 2017. In addition, Antero drilled nearly 5,200 lateral feet in a 24-hour period, which is a company record for drilled lateral footage in 24 hours in the Utica. During the second quarter, the Company completed 5.4 stages per day on average, above the 5.1 stages per day achieved during the first quarter.  
During the third quarter of 2018, the Company expects to place a total of 15 wells to sales in the Utica with an average lateral length of 10,200 feet per well.
The whole report is available by clicking below to read more.

40 People Rally Against Cabot's Plans in Ashland and Richland Counties

From the Mansfield News Journal:
Community members gathered on the bank of the Clear Fork of the Mohican River on Sunday afternoon to protest a Houston-based company's plans for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in Richland, Ashland and Knox counties. 
About 40 people gathered Sunday, with many of them marching for miles through town before the rally to raise awareness about Cabot Oil and Gas' hydraulic fracturing actions in the area. 
Hydraulic fracturing, often called fracking, is a drilling process in which a high-pressure liquid is directed at rocks below the earth's surface to extract oil or gases from inside. 
"Cabot Oil has invaded our communities," Ashland County resident Elaine Tanner with Friends for Environmental Justice said at the start of the rally.
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DTE Provides Updates on NEXUS Pipeline

From Seeking Alpha's transcript of DTE Energy Company's 2nd quarter earnings call:
There is a lot going on at GSP related to future growth. So NEXUS construction is now 80% complete and progressing well. In fact, a group of us along with some board members flew to the pipeline route yesterday, and saw mostly dirt covering pipe, so that's a good sign.
Later in the call:
I'd like to start with an update on the NEXUS pipeline. Before I highlight some of the progress we have made on construction, I want to take a step back and talk about project as we see it. It is a long-term project that will help grow this business segment for many years to come. We're very encouraged by forecasts of future production in the Basin served by NEXUS. The pipe is located over the most prolific, one of the most prolific dry gas basins in the country. 
Basin's production capacity is expected to grow significantly from 28 BCF a day to 40 BCF a day by the end of next decade. Forecasters are also predicting that basin will be short in capacity in the very near future. And our ongoing discussion with producers of the seas and industrials reflect this sentiment. We have enough volume under discussion to fill the pipe, so this pipe is clearly needed and well-positioned. Given this, we are focused on getting long-term deals to provide a strong base for NEXUS for years to come. We expect these that play out after the construction is complete and the pipe goes into service. This is something that is counted to play in our financial plan. 
Speaking of construction, we have made significant progress in all aspects of construction, and we are approximately 80% complete. 100% of mainline walling on the pipe is completed, leading this walling as a key milestone in any pipeline project, and we are in very good shape with this phase. 
Regarding our horizontal threshold drilling, we have completed 16 of the 18 HDDs we need to drill, which is another key phase in construction and the two remaining HDDs are pretty minor in terms of size. So all-in-all, we are pleased with how the NEXUS project is coming together. We look forward to growing this platform much like we have done with our other existing pipeline assets, and we expect the pipe to be a strong contributor within GSP for many years to come. 
Our Link collateral and gathering asset continues to perform well and they progress towards future growth. Jerry mentioned the $250 million expansion Link that our Board of Directors recently approved. This is the third expansion of Link. This investment is really coming along well. Volumes and investments are coming in faster than a pro-forma plan we have shared with you. 
Additionally, we are currently evaluating a number of acquisition opportunities roughly the size of Link. We have multiple assets under consideration, and we are in detail evaluation base of one asset in particular. As I've said before, when talking to investors of potential acquisitions, they are very disciplined in our approach, we are focused on assets that fits strategically in our GSP portfolio and keep our business mix where we like it. We will continue to update you on our progress in this area.
View the whole transcript by clicking here. 

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EPA Air Pollution Report Shows Plummeting Appalachian Basin Sulfur Dioxide Emissions

by Nicole Jacobs, Energy in Depth

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) latest air emissions trend report confirms Appalachian Basin air quality continues to improve, even as the region leads the nation in natural gas production. In particular, the EPA data show that the region’s sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions decreased 72 percent from 2002 to 2014.
Further, the EPA report includes a NASA satellite imaging time-lapse video of SO2 emissions across the country that shows the Appalachian Basin’s SO2 emissions virtually disappearing from 2005 to 2014.
And while the EPA didn’t have data available for 2017, NASA’s satellite imaging showed this trend also continued from 2014 to 2017:
Here’s why that’s a big deal. SO2 has been described by the EPA of being of “of greatest concern” with regard to health, noting,
“Short-term exposures to SO2 can harm the human respiratory system and make breathing difficult. Children, the elderly, and those who suffer from asthma are particularly sensitive to effects of SO2.
“SO2 emissions that lead to high concentrations of SO2 in the air generally also lead to the formation of other sulfur oxides (SOx). SOx can react with other compounds in the atmosphere to form small particles. These particles contribute to particulate matter (PM) pollution: particles may penetrate deeply into sensitive parts of the lungs and cause additional health problems.”
Reductions in SO2 emissions are incredibly important for respiratory health. And these reductions are occurring, at least in part, thanks to the increased use of natural gas occurring as a result of the shale revolution taking place in the region.
As EPA describes, “The largest source of SO2 in the atmosphere is the burning of fossil fuels by power plants and other industrial facilities.” And those facilities, especially in the Appalachian Basin, are switching to natural gas.
Marcellus Drilling News’ Jim Willis explained at a recent conference that about 21 of the total 32 gigawatts of planned new U.S. electricity generation slated for 2018 will be gas-fired, with about 43 percent of that new natural gas-fired electricity located in the Marcellus-Utica region. In fact, according to EPA, Pennsylvania’s “natural gas-fired capacity grew by nearly two-thirds” from 2010 to 2017, jumping from accounting for about 15 percent of the state’s electricity generation in 2010 to about one-third in 2017.  And the region as a whole has more than $21 billion being invested for new natural gas-fired power generation.
U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data show natural gas electricity generation increased nearly 544 percent from 2005 to 2015 in the Appalachian Basin.
As is evident by NASA’s satellite imaging, this switch to natural gas is having tremendous air quality benefits – and not just in the Appalachian Basin. A recent Ceres report co-sponsored by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), found that electricity sector SO2 emissions nationally dropped 91 percent from 2005 to 2016.
Notably, the Ceres report credited this incredible drop in emissions to “energy efficiency improvements and the displacement of coal by natural gas and renewable energy resources.” That’s because when combusted, natural gas emits virtually no SO2.
And the best part – it’s not just SO2 that’s being greatly reduced in the region.
As EID reported at the beginning of 2018, EIA data show the Appalachian Basin is spearheading U.S. carbon emissions reductions. The region accounted for 18 percent of total U.S. carbon emissions reductions and 21.5 percent of total U.S. carbon emissions reductions for electricity generation from 2005 to 2015.
In fact, Ohio has had the greatest carbon reduction in the entire country this century, leading the Environmental Defense Fund to call the Buckeye State the “nation’s carbon-reducing powerhouse.” Ohio’s carbon emissions declined 37.7 percent from 2005 to 2015, far outpacing runner-up Indiana’s 28.6 percent reductions.
As Crain’s Cleveland Business reported,
The biggest reason for the decline, according to watchers, is the advent of shale gas drilling in Ohio. The shale drilling boom’s cheap gas has caused new natural gas power plants to come online in Ohio and nearby states that sell their power into Ohio on a shared electricity grid.” (emphasis added)
This latest EPA data further demonstrates that shale gas development can be both protective of the environment and public health, while also bringing incredible economic benefits to the Appalachian Basin. And that’s something we all should be able to get behind.

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