Friday, March 30, 2018

Hilcorp Gets Permits for Four New Columbiana County Wells

From Business Journal Daily:
Houston-based Hilcorp Energy Co. has applied for permits to drill four new horizontal wells in Columbiana County, according to the latest data from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. 
If approved, the wells would be the first permits issued for new wells in the northern tier of eastern Ohio’s Utica shale this year. 
According to ODNR, the agency received on March 26 applications for two new wells apiece on the Wertz and Johnston properties in Elk Run Township.

There was no new permit activity reported in Mahoning or Trumbull counties, according to ODNR. 
Meanwhile, the agency reported it issued 14 new permits for horizontal wells for the week ended March 24 in Ohio’s Utica.
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Russia and OPEC Discuss Long-Term Alliance

From Reuters:
Saudi Arabia and Russia are working on a historic long-term pact that could extend controls over world crude supplies by major exporters for many years. 
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Reuters that Riyadh and Moscow were considering a deal to greatly extend a short-term alliance on oil curbs that began in January 2017 after a crash in crude prices. 
“We are working to shift from a year-to-year agreement to a 10 to 20 year agreement,” the crown prince told Reuters in an interview in New York late on Monday. 
“We have agreement on the big picture, but not yet on the detail.”

Russia, not a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, has worked alongside the 14-member group during previous oil gluts, but a 10 to 20 year deal between the two would be unprecedented.
The whole article can be read by clicking here.

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New Study Claims That More People Have Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Ohio Counties with Fracking

From the Yale School of Public Health:
Researchers at the Yale School of Public Health have discovered that the rates of two major sexually transmitted infections (STIs), gonorrhea and chlamydia, are 21% and 19% higher, respectively, in Ohio counties with high shale gas activity (“fracking”), compared to counties without any fracking. Rates of a third STI, syphilis, were not elevated. 
The findings are published in the journal PLOS One. 

Shale gas extraction is associated with large influxes of specialized, trained workers into rural areas to meet the labor demands of the drilling rigs, and commonly involves the formation of “work camps” composed of relatively young men. The influx of workers in these situations is thought to increase STI risk because male workers typically live and socialize in communities with masculinized social norms, do not bring families and thus have opportunities to seek other sex partners, and may have few emotional ties to the local community. 
“Beyond some of the more familiar concerns about water quality and earthquakes, this report of increased rates of two major sexually transmitted infections suggests another potential health impact in communities hosting the emerging shale gas industry,” said lead author Nicole Deziel, Ph.D., assistant professor at the Yale School of Public Health.
Click here to read the rest of that summary.

And here is the report:

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Eclipse Resources Provides Operations Update and Announces Financial Review Initiative

From an Eclipse Resources press release:
“Additionally, the Company has continued to showcase its operational capabilities, successfully drilling its longest Dry Gas lateral to date, the Wiley D 8H, with a total measured depth of approximately 30,130 feet and a lateral extension of approximately 19,335 feet. This well was drilled from spud to total depth in 20.5 days and set a new Utica Dry Gas lateral length record for the Company. Our team has also now spud the Company’s first Flat Castle area well, which will include a number of scientific and data mining technical applications to allow us to further study the potential of this new area. We anticipate turning this well to sales late in the third quarter of 2018.” 
“I am pleased to note that, based upon recent State of Ohio cumulative production data, Eclipse Resources had eight of the top ten oil producing wells during the fourth quarter of 2017. We believe this data further confirms the Company’s competitive advantage over other Appalachian producers primarily due to our Super Lateral development capabilities. We remain highly confident in our total production forecast for the first quarter of 2018, despite the harsh winter operating environment we have experienced in the Appalachian Basin.”
From another press release:
Eclipse Resources Corporation (NYSE:ECR) (the “Company” or “Eclipse Resources”) announced today that its Board of Directors (the “Board”) has initiated a process to evaluate and consider a full range of potential strategic, operational and financial alternatives to maximize shareholder value. Eclipse Resources has retained Jefferies LLC as its financial advisor and Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP as its legal counsel to assist with the process. 
Commenting on the announcement, Benjamin W. Hulburt, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, said, "Our management team and Board have always been focused on maximizing long-term shareholder value. We will review all alternatives available to Eclipse Resources and will take all steps necessary to evaluate our opportunities and achieve the best strategy for our shareholders, partners and employees. 
“Despite the challenging environment facing our industry over the last several years, our Company has made significant progress in increasing the scale of our assets, improving well performance, decreasing operational costs and increasing asset level returns. We have developed an industry leading drilling capability that we believe would benefit greatly from increased scale and acceleration, while at the same time reducing the company’s general and administrative costs and interest expense on a per unit of production basis. We are proud of what we have accomplished and believe now is an appropriate time to explore alternatives to continue increasing shareholder value.”

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Proposal Floated to Use Fracking Brine on Icy Ohio Roads

From WOSU:
The first day of spring is bringing a Winter Weather Advisory in Central Ohio. And while the snow begins to come down, legislators in an Ohio House committee will be considering a new way to remove ice from the roads - using the byproduct of fracking. 
HB 393, which was introduced in October, would allow for the sale of fracking brine for surface applications, like deicing roadways during Ohio's slick winters. The bipartisan bill is co-sponsored by Republican state Rep. Anthony Devitis and Democrat state Rep. Michael O'Brien. 
O'Brien says a particular company, Aquasalina, processes brine from hydraulic fracturing wells to make it usable. 
"Whether it be residential deicing, for something as simple as one sidewalk," he says, "or sell to road departments for the county road departments, the city street departments and such, for the deicing method for the winter months."
Not surprisingly, this is opposed by environmental groups such as the Sierra Club.  Click here to read more.

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ODNR Approves 3 New Injection Wells in Brookfield

From Business Journal Daily:
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has issued permits for Pittsburgh-based Highland Field Services Inc. to drill three new Class II injection wells just off state Route 7 in the township. 
ODNR’s Division of Oil and Gas approved the three permits March 16, according to ODNR records. 
The company, a division of Seneca Resources, last year received permits to drill two wells at the site.

Preparatory work at the site is underway, with work crews clearing out trees and brush to make room for the well complex. 
The injection well site is just west of state Route 7 in the township and south of Merwin-Chase Road. 
Class II injection wells are used to store contaminated wastewater from oil and gas drilling operations. 
Brookfield Township trustees have long opposed the development of new injection wells in the township, citing their potential for triggering earthquakes and the risks of environmental contamination.
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Epic Fail: Kucinich A No Show at Fake Ohio Leasing Forum

by Jackie Stewart, Energy in Depth

It took less than three months for Ohio Gubernatorial Democratic candidate Dennis Kucinich to realize that running on a platform to “stop oil and gas development” was a bad idea. So bad in fact, that he skipped his keynote speech at the first event held by the fake Tri-County Landowners Coalition this weekend. Is Kucinich running from his policy to end oil and gas development in Ohio because all of his fellow Democratic gubernatorial opponents have disagreed with him? Or did he skip the so-called “leasing forum” because they couldn’t even muster 20 people to attend? In either event, it was another epic fail for the fringe environmental activists and highlights, yet again, that Ohio soundly supports oil and natural gas development.
You may recall that on Jan. 17 the “moonbeam congressman” announced his candidacy for Ohio governor. Just eight days later, Kucinich launched a media stunt where he unveiled his most pressing policy issue — to end all Ohio oil and gas development. After a string of media hits statewide and nationally, Kucinich faced off with his fellow Democratic gubernatorial candidates in a sequence of debates where each candidate unabashedly challenged Kucinich on his call to ban fracking. As the Toledo Blade correctly stated,
“And then there was Mr. Kucinich who pretty much wrote off all of eastern Ohio by proposing to ban fracking, the most promising economic activity in that part of the state. “
The Columbus Dispatch reported that one of Kucinich’s opponents, Former U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray, responded to his call to end oil and gas this way,
“[A]n extreme position will lose us eastern Ohio for a generation and dismisses the fact that there are many small landholders there with an oil or gas well on their property (that) is their sole means of livelihood.”
During the same period of time, a small group of fringe environmental activists launched the fake Tri-County Landowners Coalition. As EID has been documenting, this group has become more and more clear of its real intentions, which became crystal clear at the aforementioned so-called “leasing forum” that Kucinich ditched.
Immediately following the event, Youngstown-based Frack Free, which is backed by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, proudly took credit for the so-called “leasing forum,” where one of the few participants commented on social media that they were advised “not to lease” their minerals for oil and gas development. This is noteworthy because it highlights two key facts. First, it confirms the fake landowner coalition was put together by Frack Free, as EID suspected. Second, the goal of this group is to stop all oil and gas development, not help landowners negotiate leases in Richland, Ashland, and Holmes counties. But don’t take our word for it, see for yourself:
Source: Free Free Ohio Facebook page
With not even 20 people attending this charade and the “moonbeam congressman” ditching on them, it seems that, Frack Free has had yet another epic fail with this so-called “leasing forum,” similar to CELDF’s ongoing Youngstown defeats. As for Kucinich, we aren’t surprised that he has toned down his big anti-fracking campaign in Ohio. Just like the 20 people who attended the forum, he’s quickly found himself on an island.

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Editorial Takes Aim at Relentless Anti-Drilling Activists in Youngstown

From the Youngstown Vindicator:
A group of self-appointed guardians of Youngstown are at it again, pushing an amendment to the city’s home-rule charter that is clearly unconstitutional. 
Sensible Youngstown voters rejected the issue six times, and the Ohio Supreme Court made sure the so-called Community Bill of Rights wasn’t on the ballot last year. 
But the anti-frackers, led by Ray and Susie Beiersdorfer, won’t take “no” for an answer. They’re going back to the high court in the belief that last year’s 4-3 vote is an indication that the justices can be swayed to rule in their favor. 
Given our long-standing opposition to the charter amendment because it is nothing more than an exercise in futility, we urge the court to issue an unequivocal opinion. 
It’s time to send the anti-frackers a clear message that their effort to ban hydraulic fracturing in the city of Youngstown is misguided and unconstitutional.
Read the rest of the editorial by clicking here.

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Ohio Rep. David Leland Proposes Fracking Ban in State Parks and Nature Preserves

From WKSU:
A central Ohio lawmaker is seeking a ban on fracking in certain parts of the state. The proposal comes as a commission that regulates this types of drilling prepares for its first meeting. 
Democratic Rep. David Leland wants to prevent oil and gas companies from drilling in public parks and nature preserves. 
Leland says he understands the economic value of fracking for natural gas in Ohio, but “we’ve got to have little spots of land in the state of Ohio that don’t have to be subjected to fracking. We can run an economy, we can get our energy needs in the state of Ohio and still preserve the state parks and nature preserves for people to use not only now but in the future," Leland says.
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Rover Pipeline in Hot Water with FERC Over Missed Deadlines for Restoration Work

From NGI:
Rover Pipeline LLC has not completed restoration work it agreed to when it received authorization to start up two compressor stations, an issue that could bear on pending in-service authorizations, FERC told the developer this week. 
In a letter Monday, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff listed a series of restoration activities that it said Rover has failed to complete within the timeframes agreed to when the Commission cleared the pipeline’s Compress Station 1 (CS1) and Compressor Station 2 (CS2) to enter service in December and February, respectively. 
“Because restoration of these sites was not complete at the time of in-service authorization, Rover committed to completing the remaining restoration within specified dates...In turn, the Commission’s authorizations for commencement of service of CS1 and CS2 were based upon those commitments,” FERC wrote. 
“...However, as of March 20, our monitors’ reports indicate several instances where the agreed-upon restoration has not been completed (or, in some instances, started but incomplete).”
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Source of Contamination Along Rover Pipeline Route Still Not Identified

From Kallanish Energy:
The source of a chemical contaminant found last February in drilling fluids along the Rover natural gas pipeline route in Ohio has “not yet been definitively identified,” Rover Pipeline said. 
Its assessment came in a new filing last week with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Kallanish Energy reports. 
Rover Pipeline, an Energy Transfer Partners company, hired engineering firm GHD to investigate the contamination reported along the Tuscarawas River in southern Stark County, where horizontal directional drilling was being used to route the pipeline under the river. 
The Ohio Environmental Agency found low levels of tetrachloroethene (PCE) and called for additional testing. GHD reported the drilling fluid will not leach PCE to impact groundwater at levels that would exceed Ohio standards. 
The PCE contamination was also not detected in the sediment, groundwater or surface water samples tested, Rover Pipeline told FERC. That may be due to regional flooding along the river and its tributaries that washed away contamination, the company added.
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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Trend Reverses as Utica Rig Count Goes Up Last Week

New permits issued last week: 14  (Previous week: 6+8
Total horizontal permits issued: 2797  (Previous week: 2787+10
Total horizontal wells drilled: 2307  (Previous week: 2299+8
Total horizontal wells producing: 1870 (Previous week: 1865+5
Utica rig count: 20 (Previous week: 16)  +4

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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Investigation into XTO Well Blowout Continues; New Video Released with Footage of Explosion Aftermath

From The Herald Star:
Belmont County is slowly returning to normalcy in the aftermath of a well pad explosion on Feb. 15 near Powhatan Point, but the cleanup process continues. 
XTO Energy spokeswoman Karen Matusic spoke to the Belmont County commissioners during a Wednesday meeting and commended the people of Belmont County, the elected officials and first responders, as well as charities such as the Salvation Army. 
“Now what we’re working on is the investigative phase. The regulators are out there with our guys. Nobody wants to get to the bottom of this more than us, to see what went wrong and what were the lessons learned,” Matusic said. 
At this point, there is no timetable for when the investigators might have details about what went wrong. She added that spring will provide further opportunity to determine any long-term environmental impact of the incident. 
“The good news is, any water testing and air testing has shown nothing that would be harmful to the environment or to people and animals,” she said, adding state regulators have looked at water and air samples and found no evidence of contamination.
Click here to read the rest of that article.

Anti-fracking organization FracTracker Alliance wasted no time filing a Freedom of Information Act request for the release of video shot by the Ohio State Highway Patrol following the explosion at the well.  It is embedded below, and you can read more by clicking here on how anti-drillers are covering this incident.

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EnerVest is Filing for Bankruptcy

From the Houston Chronicle:
The publicly traded business of Houston energy investment firm EnerVest plans to file for bankruptcy to restructure and reduce its debt. 
The upstream oil and gas business, EV Energy Partners, said it has agreed to a bankruptcy plan with a majority of its lenders to renegotiate its debt and restructure its ownership in order to avoid a financial default. 
The Houston parent firm is not filing for bankruptcy, although EnerVest has seen the value of some of its investment funds plummet during the recent oil bust.

EV Energy Partners has struggled for a few years, finally seeing its stock value dip below $1 per unit in May 2017. It's now listed below 20 cents. The business was considered a default risk for quite some time.
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First Permit Moves Cabot Closer to Exploring the Utica Shale

From the Times-Gazette:
The first drilling permit for an exploratory well has been filed by Cabot Oil and Gas Corp. with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources as the Pennsylvania company attempts to determine what is under Utica Shale in Ashland County.

The permit, filed March 6, is for land on Township Road 2375, near the Ashland and Richland County lines and located north of Ohio 39 but south of Widowville.

Work on the exploratory well would use the process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to bore into the earth to determine if there is natural gas or oil below Utica Shale shelf that extends into Ashland County, according to George Stark, director of external affairs at Cabot.

The well would be one of potentially five exploratory wells within Ashland County or in surrounding areas, including Richland County.

“We want to drill one (well) and we want to test it,” Stark said. From there, the idea would be to drill in other locations to get a better understanding of what is physically underneath the Utica Shale.
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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Rig Count Declines Again in Utica Shale

New permits issued last week: 6  (Previous week: 17-11
Total horizontal permits issued: 2787  (Previous week: 2779+8
Total horizontal wells drilled: 2299  (Previous week: 2282+17
Total horizontal wells producing: 1865 (Previous week: 1862+3
Utica rig count: 16 (Previous week: 17)  -1

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Belmont County Commissioners Urge Patience as Decision is Awaited on Cracker Plant

From WTOV:

Belmont County commissioners are keeping Monday's press conference at Ohio's Statehouse in Columbus back into the spotlight, as the Ohio Valley eagerly awaits a decision on the project.

In the commissioners’ meeting Wednesday, county leaders recapped their trip for an update on the proposed ethane cracker plant at Dilles Bottom. 
During the news conference, some in attendance wondered, 'why Belmont County?' Most of the similar ethane cracker facilities are located on the Gulf Coast." 
The reality is manufacturers locate close to either their source material or their finished customer," Larry Merry, Belmont County Port Authority director. 
“By being here, in the valley, they're close to their raw material, but also 60-65 percent -- 1 days’ travel with a truck, 60-65 percent of the North American population.”
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Friday, March 16, 2018

Rolling Stone Publishes Anti-Fracking Article; Industry Calls it "Hilariously Awful"

From Rolling Stone:
The most authoritative study of its kind reveals how fracking is contaminating the air and water – and imperiling the health of millions of Americans 
"Our examination…uncovered no evidence that fracking can be practiced in a manner that does not threaten human health," states a blistering 266-page report released today by Concerned Health Professionals of New York and the Nobel Peace Prize-winning group, Physicians for Social Responsibility. Drawing on news investigations, government assessments and more than 1,200 peer-reviewed research articles, the study finds that fracking – shooting chemical-laden fluid into deep rock layers to release oil and gas – is poisoning the air, contaminating the water and imperiling the health of Americans across the country. "Fracking is the worst thing I've ever seen," says Dr. Sandra Steingraber, one of the report's eight co-authors, a biologist who has worked as a public health advocate on issues like breast cancer and toxic incinerators. "Those of us in the public health sector started to realize years ago that there were potential risks, then the industry rolled out faster than we could do our science." In recent years, the practice has expanded from rural lands to backyards, farms, and within sight of schools and sources of drinking water. "Now we see those risks have turned into human harms and people are getting sick," says Steingraber. "And we in this field have a moral imperative to raise the alarm."
You can read that whole article by clicking here.

Meanwhile, industry-backed site Energy in Depth has picked apart the article and the report it is focused on:
Given Rolling Stone’s past coverage of the oil and gas industry, and the fact that the activists responsible for this “report” are Rolling Stone’s primary sources for the story, it’s no surprise that the piece’s click-bait claims don’t stand up to scrutiny. Here are some key facts to keep in mind while reading the story. 
FACT: Vast majority of story’s sources are anti-fracking activists 
Rolling Stone fails to mention that its primary source is CHPNY’s Sandra Steingraber, who is the co-founder of New Yorkers Against Fracking. Steingraber isn’t a big fan of disclosure, either. 
You may remember that Steingraber infamously signed a document declaring she had no conflict of interest prior to peer-reviewing a study that New York Health Commissioner Howard Zucker used to support the state’s ban on fracking back in 2015. When Steingraber’s bias was brought to light, she insisted it didn’t affect her objectivity, telling Fox News:

“I think we are all proud of our ability to be conservative and analytical and absolutely objective about the data. I look at the data and call it as I see it.”

This claim is pretty hard to believe considering Steingraber is quoted in the Rolling Stone piece saying, “Fracking is the worst thing I’ve ever seen.”
Read that whole article by clicking here. 

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Board of Elections Chooses to Keep Youngstown Fracking Ban Off the Ballot Again

From the Youngstown Vindicator:
After the Mahoning County Board of Elections voted to keep an initiative to ban fracking in Youngstown off the May 8 ballot, supporters of the measure said they’d again take the matter to the Ohio Supreme Court. 
Board members said Tuesday nothing has changed since they decided in September 2017 to not allow a similar proposal to be put in front of city voters. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled 4-3 in October 2017 to uphold the board’s decision to not permit the measure on the November 2017 ballot. 
The board voted 4-0 to keep the proposal off the city’s primary ballot. Again, the board pointed to House Bill 463, which requires election boards to invalidate local initiative petitions if they determine part of the petition falls outside a local government’s authority to enact them. 
“This is not a consideration of the constitutionality, legality or merits of this proposal, but rather the power sought to be exercised is beyond the scope of the city’s authority,” said David Betras, the board’s vice chairman and county Democratic Party chairman.
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Green Residents Turn in Petition in Continued Battle Against NEXUS Pipeline

From News 5:

The NEXUS pipeline saga continues in the city of Green, with a group of residents filing a petition for a referendum Thursday afternoon. 
The petition contains more than 1,500 signatures from concerned citizens who hope the referendum makes it onto the ballot. 
“Nobody wants a pipeline in their city, nobody wants it in their backyard,” said resident Erin Swartzwelder. “We don’t want to see our children play sports in a blast zone, we don’t want to see property values decrease. And that effects the entire city, not just individual homeowners, but everyone.” 
In February, after years of fighting against it, Green city council voted 4-3 on a settlement with NEXUS — receiving roughly 20 acres of land and $7.5 million and selling easements for 2.5 acres.
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Rover Pipeline Faces Another Order to Stop Construction, This Time in West Virginia

From the Charleston Gazette-Mail:
State regulators have slapped a cease-and-desist order on a natural gas pipeline, citing multiple water pollution violations, according to a letter made public by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

The 713-mile-long Rover Pipeline, which would transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day from processing plants in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania, received the order on March 5 from Scott Mandirola, director of the Division of Water and Waste Management, documents show.

According to the order, DEP officials conducted inspections on four days in February, during which they said they found 14 violations in Doddridge, Tyler and Wetzel counties. The alleged offenses include leaving trash and construction debris partially buried on site, improperly installing perimeter control and failing to inspect or clean public and private roads around the construction site.

The pipeline, owned by Energy Transfer Partners, has been ordered to halt construction until state regulators inspect the site and determine that Rover Pipeline LLC is complying with the Water Pollution Control Permit issued Dec. 15, 2016. Rover also is tasked with submitting a plan of “corrective action,” due March 25, and installing devices to control erosion and sediment-water release.
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EQT Corp CEO Steve Schlotterbeck Unexpectedly Resigns

From the Pittsburgh Business Times:
EQT Corp. announced Thursday that President and CEO Steve Schlotterbeckhad resigned immediately and would be replaced in the interim by former Chairman and CEO David L. Porges
EQT (NYSE: EQT), the largest independent natural gas producer in the U.S., said Schlotterbeck left as president and CEO and the EQT board for personal reasons. EQT did not elaborate. He also resigned his posts at EQT subsidiaries EQT GP Holdings LP (NYSE: EGQP), EQT Midstream Partners LP (NYSE: EQM) and Rice Midstream Partners (NYSE: RMP). 
"We thank Steve for his dedicated service to EQT and its stakeholders over the last 18 years," the board of directors said in a statement. "Steve was a valued contributor as EQT transformed from a regional, retail gas company into the largest natural gas producer in the United States."

Schlotterbeck had a 18-year career with EQT and a 30-year career in the energy industry, and had spent the last year as CEO, replacing Porges. He had been named president of EQT in 2015 and led its production business unit with the company's transition to an E&P company with the rise of the Marcellus Shale.
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While a sudden departure like this these days tends to make one suspect that there are either health problems or some sort of scandal involved, Marcellus Drilling News reports that a message on Schlotterbeck's LinkedIn page reveals that the decision to leave was spurred by a disagreement with the board over his value to the company.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

With New Partner in Mix, Proposed Cracker Plant in Belmont County Grows in Scope

From The Intelligencer:
Gov. John Kasich said a pair of international energy firms now control about 500 acres of property needed to build the planned Belmont County ethane cracker, a project he said could now cost up to $10 billion. 
During a Monday news conference at the Ohio Statehouse, Kasich formally announced the partnership between Thailand-based PTT Global Chemical and South Korea’s Daelim Industrial Co., a pairing initially reported by The Intelligencer on Jan. 31. 
“It’s great to see these two world-class companies coming together to develop an exciting 21st century industry that will dramatically transform Ohio,” Kasich said. “Building this massive ethane cracker plant here will be a game-changer, not only for Eastern Ohio, but for the entire state, as it will create so many new opportunities for economic development.” 
Two-and-a-half years ago, PTT officials joined Kasich at the Statehouse to announce plans to spend $100 million for engineering and design work. Monday, JobsOhio President and Chief Investment Officer John Minor said this investment has already topped $150 million. 
Initially, the estimated cost of the cracker plant to be build along the Ohio River was $5.7 billion. Kasich and Minor said Monday the cost could now go as high as $10 billion, as the partnership of PTT and Daelim allows the companies to make the plant even larger than originally planned.
Click here to read on.

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Appeals Court Hears Arguments in Battle Over Athens Home Rule Anti-Drilling Charter

From the Athens News:
The 4th District Court of Appeals heard brief arguments Thursday morning in a local group’s appeal of the Athens County Board of Elections decision last July rejecting an anti-fracking county charter ballot proposal submitted by the group.

While supporters of the group, the Athens County Bill of Rights Committee (ACBORC), rallied in protest in the rain outside the Athens County Courthouse, chanting “Let Us Vote,” the three-judge appellate panel heard brief arguments inside the courthouse from each side in the case. A decision in the appeal case is expected no sooner than 30 days and could take several months.

Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn, whose office is representing the county Board of Elections in the appeal case, said attorneys for both sides Thursday morning mainly touched on points already included in their legal filings in the appeal.

The party appealing the case, described as “a committee of petitioners for the county charter proposal,” on July 28, 2017, appealed Athens County Common Pleas Judge George McCarthy’s decision to uphold the Board of Elections’ July 10 decision to not place on the November 2017 ballot the Athens County Bill of Rights Committee’s proposed county charter.

Last July, the local Board of Elections rejected the charter as invalid by stating, among other things, that a proposed executive council (comprised of county elected officials who aren’t county commissioners) does not meet Ohio Revised Code requirements for a county executive under an alternative form of government.
The whole article can be read by clicking here.

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Pin Oak Hopes to Find Success in Much-Maligned Northern Utica Shale

From Business Journal Daily:
Where others have experienced nothing short of a bust, an Akron oil and gas company envisions nothing but opportunity. 
Pin Oak Energy Partners LLC is jockeying for position in the northern tier of the Utica shale, especially in Trumbull County and parts of Mahoning County in Ohio, and Mercer County in Pennsylvania. In February, the company announced it has acquired more than 70,000 leasehold acres in the southern and northern Utica and a collection of active wells. 
“We’re not buying acreage,” says Mark Van Tyne, Pin Oak chief business development officer. “We are buying cash-flowing assets. We’ve acquired assets that others didn’t feel were producing.” 
Energy giants BP America and Halcon Resources Corp. moved into the region in 2012 during the early phase of Utica shale exploration. After almost two years, the payoff hoped for from the wells that both companies drilled, mostly in Trumbull and Mercer counties, simply was insufficient to justify continued oil and gas exploration in the northern Utica. So BP and Halcon canceled their drilling programs.
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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Rig Count Drops Again as 17 New Permits Are Issued in Utica Shale Last Week

New permits issued last week: 17  (Previous week: 2+15
Total horizontal permits issued: 2779  (Previous week: 2767+12
Total horizontal wells drilled: 2282  (Previous week: 2276+6
Total horizontal wells producing: 1862 (Previous week: 1850+12
Utica rig count: 17 (Previous week: 19)  -2

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Saturday, March 10, 2018

Belmont, Monroe and Jefferson Were the Utica Hot Spots in 2017

From Kallanish Energy:
Ohio's Belmont, Monroe and Jefferson counties were the Top 3 shale-drilling counties in the state in 2017. 
But if you drill into the data, the three counties' results tell a different story, according to a numbers-filled presentation Thursday by Martin Shumway, technical officer at Locus Bio-Energy Solutions Resources. 
Shumway spoke at the Ohio Oil and Gas Association’s 71th annual winter meeting, in the state capital of Columbus. Roughly 800 people, including Kallanish Energy, attended Day One of the three-day conference.
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XTO Finally Caps Well After 20 Days in Powhatan Point

From The Intelligencer:
After weeks of work through inclement weather and the evacuation of 30 households following a well pad explosion Feb. 15, XTO Energy announced Wednesday that the well was successfully capped.

In order to make the site safe for workers to plug the leak, XTO “flared,” or burned off excess gas, at the site. The mostly methane gas was directed to an excavated containment area and ignited. The gas burned through the night, illuminating the sky above much of Belmont County with an orange glow. Residents in areas such as Morristown, Belmont and Centerville reported seeing the light from the flames, as well as bright flashes of light they compared to lightning. 
The flaring process made the area safe for workers. Capping operations subsequently were completed fairly quickly Wednesday morning. 
“We have gained control of the well. It has stopped flowing,” XTO spokeswoman Karen Matusic said. “We did the flare (Tuesday), and that was to move the gas away from the site so that the men could go on and shut the valve off. We also had to pump fluid and mud back into the well to further secure it, and once they did that and they were confident with the pressure and took some pressure testings, they were able to shut it off. The whole process took about two and a half hours (Wednesday) morning once they extinguished the flare.” 
Matusic said the next step would be facilitating the evacuees’ return home.
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Digging Deep Into the 4th Quarter 2017 Utica Shale Production Data

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has now released the production data from the Utica shale for the fourth 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. Of course, we can now see how the entire year's production from 2017 stacks up to previous years.  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 fourth quarter of 2017. As a reminder, all oil figures are 42-gallon barrels, and all gas production is measured in MCF:

So, total oil production has now risen in four straight quarters after declining during every quarter of 2016.  Oil production rates, though, dropped off to the lowest levels we've seen in the last four years during the final quarter of 2017.  

Gas production, on the other hand, continues the streak of setting new high points for overall production and production rates.  For the first quarter, gas produced per day in production went over 3,000 MCF, while gas per well hit a new high as well.  This is also the first quarter with over 500,000,000 MCF of total gas production.

The next table shows the production comparison year-over-year.

The numbers show that the decline in oil production during 2016 was more rapid than the recovery in production in 2017 (as the rates shown above in the quarterly comparison also indicate). Despite having over 300 more producing wells during the fourth quarter of 2017 than during the fourth quarter of 2016, there were over 1,600,000 more barrels of oil produced in 2016 - a 9 percent decline.  Oil production is down over 5,600,000 barrels from the high point reached in 2015, a decline over 25 percent.

In contrast, natural gas production hit a new high in 2017.   The rate of increase has slowed, though.  After a 43.6 percent increase from 2015 to 2016, there was a 25.8 percent increase in gas production from 2016 to 2017.  Still, the natural gas produced from the Utica shale in 2017 represent over 37 percent of the total amount produced over the past 7 years.  It will be interesting to see what kind of effect completion of the Rover pipeline will have on these figures in 2018.


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

Eclipse Resources dominates the list of top oil-producing wells this quarter, with 8 of the 10 wells.  This comes after Eclipse had 2 of the top 10 wells in the third quarter.  The top 10 wells in this quarter were much more productive than the top 10 wells in quarter three, as well.  The total produced from the top 10 wells of the third quarter was 529,571 barrels.  In quarter four, the top five wells produced more than that, and the top 10 wells produced a total of 829,512 barrels of oil.  The top two producers - the Outlaw C 11H and Great Scott 3H - combined to provide just under 7 percent of the total Utica shale oil production in the quarter.

Here are the top 10 gas-producing wells from the quarter:

Ascent Resources crowds everyone else out of the top 10 during this quarter.  Both total production and production rates from these wells stayed very close to the numbers posted during the third quarter of 2017.


Here is the production data broken down by county:

Guernsey County lagged behind Harrison County in total oil production in the third quarter of 2017 despite having higher production rates.  In the fourth quarter, though, Guernsey outpaced Harrison in all areas as far as oil production is concerned.

As for gas production, Belmont County continues to rule the roost, leaving little reason to wonder why it has moved past Carroll County to have the most Utica shale permits issued and continues to narrow the gap in total number of wells producing.


And here are the results broken down by operator:

A couple of new names appear on the list that weren't there in the third quarter, including Chevron Appalachia LLC, Geopetro LLC, and Northwood Energy Corp.  Gulfport Appalachia posted strong gas production rates from its small number of wells for the second straight quarter.  Rice Drilling also continues to report high gas production rates.  Not surprisingly, considering that all of the top 10 gas wells were operated by them, Ascent Resources produced more total natural gas than anyone else.

While Chesapeake Energy's huge quantity of wells kept it the top oil producer in terms of total barrels produced, Eclipse Resources posted by far the highest rates per well and per day in production.  Less than 500,000 barrels separate the total oil production for Eclipse Resources and Chesapeake, despite Chesapeake having more than 6 times as many wells producing.

We hope you enjoyed this breakdown of the data.  You can view the spreadsheet from the ODNR containing all of the production data by clicking here.

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Friday, March 9, 2018

ODNR Releases Utica Shale Production Data From Quarter 4 of 2017

From an ODNR press release:
During the fourth quarter of 2017, Ohio’s horizontal shale wells produced 4,193,562 barrels of oil and 503,066,907 Mcf (503 billion cubic feet) of natural gas, according to the figures released today by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). 

2016 Quarter 4 (Shale)
2017 Quarter 4 (Shale)
Percentage Change
Barrels of Oil
3,605,185 bbl
4,193,562 bbl
Mcf of Natural Gas
363,502,758 Mcf
503,066,907 Mcf
 Total production for the last two years, with the percent change in production for 2016 to 2017, can be found below: 

2016 Shale
2017 Shale
Percentage Change
Barrels of Oil
18,015,346 bbl
16,350,040 bbl
Mcf of Natural Gas
1,388,656,313 Mcf
1,725,495,877 Mcf
 The ODNR quarterly report lists 1,897 horizontal shale wells, 1,869 of which reported oil and natural gas production during the quarter. Of the 1,869 reporting oil and natural gas results: 
  • The average amount of oil produced was 2,244 barrels.
  • The average amount of natural gas produced was 269,164 Mcf.
  • The average number of fourth quarter days in production was 88.
 All horizontal production reports can be accessed at law does not require the separate reporting of Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs) or condensate. Oil and gas reporting totals listed on the report include NGLs and condensate.
Click here to view the release.

We'll have our breakdown of the data posted soon!

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