Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Seven Years of Waiting is Enough for Landowners Near Wayne National Forest

From the Galion Inquirer:
After seven years of inaction, private land and mineral owners adjacent to Wayne National Forest parcels have had enough of the bureaucratic red tape tying up oil and gas permits. As a result, several of them took their case to Washington, D.C. 
Representatives from the National Association of Royalty Owners (NARO) and the Landowners for Energy Access and Safe Exploration (LEASE) met with Sen. Sherrod Brown, Sen. Rob Portman, Congressman Bill Johnson, Congressman Bob Gibbs, the U.S. Department of the Interior Office of the Secretary, and the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and Energy and Mineral Resources, among others. 
Landowners are demanding the Bureau of Land Management Eastern States Field Office comply with multiple executive orders and permanent instructions directly from Secretary Zinke to move federal leasing and permitting forward and stop ongoing obstruction by federal bureaucrats, which amounts to a de-facto moratorium on the development of private minerals. 
“The Wayne National Forest mineral development debate has been and continues to be a private property rights issue. The majority of the surface and minerals are privately owned,” said Becky Clutter, a volunteer board member of the National Association of Royalty Owners (NARO) Appalachia Chapter and also the founder of the Landowners for Energy Access and Safe Exploration (LEASE). “Federal bureaucrats are violating mineral owner’s private property rights—it’s been going on too long and property owners want to see this resolved. Individuals who work in these federal agencies have been instructed by recent actions taken by President Trump and Secretary Zinke to move these lease sales and permits along, but they aren’t doing it. It’s more than dereliction of duty, its obstructionism—and private property owners are fed up.”
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Analysts Say Chesapeake Energy Exiting Utica Shale Will Be Good for the Play

From The Columbus Dispatch:
Loaded with debt, Chesapeake Energy was never able to fully take advantage of the 900,000 acres of land it controlled in Ohio’s natural-gas rich Utica shale region. 
That’s about to change. 
Thursday’s announcement that Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake is selling its stake in the eastern Ohio region for $2 billion to Encino Acquisition Partners figures to result in more production from a better-financed company that can invest in the region. 
“We can’t grow the investment as we like, and that makes it a strong candidate for divestiture,” said Doug Lawler, Chesapeake’s president and CEO. 
Seth Brooks, an analyst with the website ShaleExperts.com, said the sale will benefit the region. 
“It’s a good thing. You have Chesapeake going through a rationalization of its portfolio. They couldn’t go develop the asset the way they wanted to,” he said. 
Matthew Hammond, executive vice president of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, agrees. 
“Chesapeake divesting its Utica shale assets in Ohio is a positive move for Chesapeake and creates a new opportunity for someone else to come in and continue to develop this resource and acreage,” he said.
The rest of this article can be read by clicking here.

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Rig Count Up for Second Week in a Row in Utica Shale

New permits issued last week: 5  (Previous week: 4+1
Total horizontal permits issued: 2844  (Previous week: 2845-1
Total horizontal wells drilled: 2382 (Previous week: 2374+8
Total horizontal wells producing: 1930 (Previous week: 1929+1
Utica rig count: 18 (Previous week: 17)  +1

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Second Lordstown Power Plant Project Still Facing Legal Battle

From Business Journal Daily:
Should the majority owner of the Lordstown Energy Center reconsider and agree to invest in another project similar in scope eyed for the village of Lordstown, all legal matters affecting construction of a second electrical-generation plant there would be resolved. 
So says Bill Siderewicz, president and CEO of Clean Energy Future LLC, which developed the Lordstown Energy Center and wants to proceed with development on a second, $900 million plant on adjoining land along Henn Parkway. 
At issue is the Australian investment firm Macquarie Group, which Siderewicz accuses of attempting to quash the second project by refusing to allow the plant, named the Trumbull Energy Center, to be built on land Macquarie owns at the Lordstown Industrial Park.

“They’ve stalled it for a year,” Siderewicz says. 
He adds that Macquarie has the first right of offer to invest in the second plant, but has refused to do so. Instead, the firm has impeded construction of the Trumbull Energy Center because it says it would leave it at a competitive disadvantage once the Lordstown Energy Center begins production, which could be late August or early September.

3 Mins - Bill Siderewicz from The Business Journal on Vimeo.

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Ascent Resources' Big Deal Leads to Windfall for Two Ohio Counties

From WTOV:
Two counties in the Ohio Valley have recorded the largest single-day transfer of assets in decades. 
Belmont and Jefferson Counties are seeing a significant windfall thanks to a large purchase of natural gas resources. 
Ascent Resources has purchased nearly $1.5 billion dollars of natural gas assets from CNX. Ascent Resources is acquiring land, leases, rigs and wells in a four-county area. 
For both Belmont and Jefferson Counties, their respective county auditor offices confirmed Tuesday they have handled a combined asset transfer worth $365 million.
In Jefferson County, the news is huge. 
"This is the biggest transfer that I’ve witnessed in my entire career working here, and I do believe it is the biggest in the history of Jefferson County,” said Jefferson County Deputy Auditor E.J. Conn.

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Investors Reaping Rewards for Investing in Oil When Times Were Tough

From CNN Money:
When crude crashed below $30 a barrel, the debt-riddled oil industry was forced to beg for cash from Wall Street. Many cash-strapped companies survived the downturn by selling shares at a record-setting pace. 
The oil industry is returning the favor now that crude has soared back to around $70 a barrel and companies are once again minting money. CEOs are sharing the windfall with shareholders through large share buyback programs and even some dividend hikes. 
"Rather than take money off investors, they're giving it back," said Kris Nicol, corporate upstream analyst at consulting firm Wood Mackenzie. 
Big Oil's reversal of fortune isn't just about higher prices. It's also a reflection of a vast technological advances that have made it cheaper to drill than ever before.

US oil production has skyrocketed to record highs and exploding shale output from the Permian Basin could soon make Texas the world's No. 3 oil producer. 
Not surprisingly, fast-growing shale oil companies have the most firepower when it comes to shareholder rewards. 
Hess (HES), Occidental Petroleum (OXY), Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD) and Anadarko Petroleum (APC) have all announced plans to buy back billions of dollars in shares.
Read on by clicking here.

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President Trump's Plan to Resuscitate Coal Industry Could Jeopardize $900 Million Lordstown Project

From the Youngstown Vindicator:
The day after becoming the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee in May 2016, Donald Trump made a promise at a campaign event in Charleston, W.Va. 
“We’re going to put the miners back to work,” he said, as thousands of coal miners got to their feet. “We are going to get those mines open.” 
Watching the speech on television, Bill Siderewicz was bewildered. 
“I was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’” said Siderewicz, president of Boston-based Clean Energy Future LLC, which operates numerous gas-fired, wholesale electricity generation plants in Ohio and is bringing a $900 million natural-gas power plant to the village. 
Lordstown Energy Center, located on a site in the Lordstown Industrial Park, is slated to be up and running next month, and Clean Energy Future has plans to invest a similar amount into building a second plant nearby. 
An energy policy proposed by the Trump administration, however, could derail plans for the second Lordstown plant and send companies such as his running from Ohio, Siderewicz said. 
Trump recently directed U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry to take steps to keep coal and nuclear plants running, a proposal Siderewicz said has caused consternation among many in the energy industry. The proposed bailout, which came to light May 31 when Bloomberg published a leaked memo from the Department of Energy to the National Security Council, has united a broad swath of interests, including petroleum, renewable energy, wind energy and natural gas groups, in opposition. 
Although Siderewicz voted for Trump, he had hoped the president would stay away from the energy industry if elected. 
Siderewicz is now sounding the alarm on the potential negative impacts of the policy. He said a bailout of the coal industry would shatter Ohio’s competitive energy market, endanger investments in gas-fired plants and cost consumers and businesses billions in higher electricity rates.
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ETP's Battle with Ohio EPA Over Rover Pipeline Rages On

From Reuters:
Energy Transfer Partners LP said on Monday that state environmental regulators in Ohio were using a notice of violation related to the unapproved disposal of industrial waste to delay completion of the company’s Rover natural gas pipeline. 
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency issued the violation to Rover after the company deposited spent drilling mud containing low levels of a chemical solvent, tetrachloroethene, known as PCE, without approval, according to the EPA’s July 11 filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

PCE is widely used in dry cleaning of fabrics and the manufacture of other chemicals. 
“Ohio EPA’s filing of the (notice of violations) with FERC was not for any legitimate purpose, but rather was an attempt to cynically use the commission to once again delay the completion of this necessary project,” ETP said in its filing with the federal regulator on Monday. 
ETP has long said it was not the source of the PCE, which the company said likely came from former industrial activity. Regardless of the source, ETP added, all detected levels of PCE are well below Ohio’s soil clean-up standards and are not in danger of affecting ground water.

Officials at the Ohio EPA and ETP were not immediately available for comment.
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Anti-Drillers Lambast Loudonville Council for Selling Water to Cabot

From the Times Reporter:
A dozen foes of the Cabot Gas & Oil drilling projects in the area assailed Mayor Steve Stricklen and members of Loudonville Village Council on their appearance of support for the company at the council meeting Monday. 
The focal point of the comments was the village’s sale of water to the company, which is drilling a horizontal deep well in northern Green Township and which has sited two other projects, one at U.S. 30 and Ohio 511 in Vermillion Township and the other south of Jeromesville in Mohican Township. 
Village Administrator Curt Young confirmed that to date the village has sold 650,000 gallons of water to Cabot, earning $4,358 in sales revenue. As with all water customers, Cabot is paying 0.65 cents per gallon of water, the highest amount the village will sell water for in its tiered billing process. 
Asked by resident Dee Hinkle if the village could refuse sale of water to Cabot, Council Member Traci Cooper said “we can’t discriminate on who we sell water to. If we sell to one entity, we have to sell to all.” 
The opponents to the drilling projects disagreed. “You could require a buyer to disclose how they will use the water, and refuse service for fracking projects,” Annette McCormick said. 
“My fear is that they will take the waste from this water, which is contaminated by chemicals used in the fracking process, and pour it in to Charles Mill Lake,” Shelly Hootman of Jeromesville said. 
Stricklen said “the village’s water supply would be monitored closely, and if the inventory gets critically low, we can halt sales, but it will have to be all sales.”
Read the whole article by clicking here. 

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Ohio Farm Sues NEXUS for Erosion

From The Canton Repository:
A farm has sued NEXUS Gas Transmission, saying the pipeline company caused erosion that damaged crops and washed away soil. 
Oakway Farms filed the lawsuit July 10 in Stark County Common Pleas Court in Canton with a request for compensatory and punitive damages and attorney fees in excess of $55,000. 
Attorney Michael Thompson said Oakway Farms went to court to protect itself, “but we also need to have a message that NEXUS can’t just decide to do what they want to do without regard to the property owners.” 
A NEXUS spokesperson declined to comment on the lawsuit, citing company policy. 
NEXUS is building a 36-inch diameter pipeline that will carry up to 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day from the Utica and Marcellus shales to users in Ohio, Michigan and Canada. 
The $2.1 billion NEXUS pipeline starts near Hanoverton in Columbiana County and will connect to existing natural gas pipelines in Michigan. 
Pipeline crews have been working in Washington, Nimishillen, Marlboro and Lake townships in Stark County, and the city of Green in Summit County.
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Long Ridge Energy Terminal Announces Completion of Rail Construction Project Creating the Appalachian Basins First Unit Train and Barge Transloading Facility

Press release:

The Long Ridge Energy Terminal (“Long Ridge”) announced the completion of its rail loop track construction project, enabling the facility to take up to three unit trains of frac sand and other commodities at any given point in time.  This project was completed in response to the rapidly growing frac sand and natural gas liquids demand associated with the Marcellus and Utica shale in East Ohio and the West Virginia panhandle. 
Long Ridge is the only terminal in the Appalachian Basin with both unit train and barge transloading capabilities, providing customers with best-in-class optionality for sourcing frac sand and other commodities.  In addition, Long Ridge has recently put into service a rail unloading pit, a frac sand conveyor belt system and frac sand silos with total storage capacity of 23,000 tons, and plans to commission a second barge dock in August 2018.
About Long Ridge Energy Terminal
The Long Ridge Energy Terminal is the Appalachian Basin’s leading multimodal energy terminal with nearly 300 acres of flat land, two barge docks on the Ohio River, a unit train capable loop track and direct access to Ohio Route 7.  Long Ridge is a subsidiary of Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure Investors LLC, which trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker FTAI.  For more information on Long Ridge, please visit www.longridgeenergy.com.
About Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure Investors LLC
Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure Investors LLC owns and acquires high quality infrastructure and equipment that is essential for the transportation of goods and people globally. FTAI targets assets that, on a combined basis, generate strong and stable cash flows with the potential for earnings growth and asset appreciation. FTAI is externally managed by an affiliate of Fortress Investment Group LLC, a leading, diversified global investment firm.

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Friday, July 27, 2018

Chesapeake Energy Sells All Utica Shale Assets in $2 Billion Deal

From Bloomberg:
Chesapeake Energy Corp.’s agreement to sell shale assets in Ohio for about $2 billion boosted the natural gas producer’s shares as it moves to whittle down debt.

The deal announced Thursday with closely held Encino Acquisition Partners is Chief Executive Officer Doug Lawler’s biggest in 3 1/2 years. After Chesapeake said almost all of the proceeds will be used to pay debt, its shares surged as much as 13 percent, the most in intraday trading since May 21.

America’s third-largest gas producer has seen rough times as prices for the heating and power-plant fuel plummeted. The company, once valued at almost $40 billion and now worth just one-tenth of that, has been punished by investors for a debt load amassed by late founder Aubrey McClendon.

The company has "under-performed because of legacy debt, legacy complexity and heavy gas-weighting," Lawler said in a telephone interview. Now, it has "transformed and is emerging as a very competitive growth story that no one expected would power through these difficult commodity price environments."

The Utica Shale assets in Ohio was the best asset to divest, Lawler said. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter. 
Encino is a 2017 creation of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and a Houston-based management team led by Hardy Murchison. The pension board plans to invest $1 billion into the partnership and own 98 percent of it, according to a separate statement. 
Chesapeake will no longer look to asset sales in the future to shrink its ratio of debt to profit, Lawler said. Instead, he’s aiming to achieve that target by raising production. 
Jettisoning the gas-rich Utica assets also will aid Lawler’s efforts to transform Chesapeake into a company focused predominantly on crude oil production. As of the end of 2017, more than 80 percent of the Oklahoma City-based explorer’s output was gas. Next year, he’s targeting 10 percent growth in the company’s oil production, according to the statement.
Click here to read the whole article.

Click here to view Chesapeake's press release on this deal.  Click here to read the release from Encino.

This is obviously some pretty huge news.  Now we will wait and see if the new owners of these assets choose to drill more wells or just sit on the acreage.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Rig Count Up One in Latest Utica Shale Report

New permits issued last week: 4  (Previous week: 1+3
Total horizontal permits issued: 2845  (Previous week: 2843+2
Total horizontal wells drilled: 2374 (Previous week: 2372+2
Total horizontal wells producing: 1929 (Previous week: 1929+-0
Utica rig count: 17 (Previous week: 16)  +1

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Monday, July 23, 2018

Acid Leaking from Truck Prompts Evacuation in Trumbull County

From WKBN News:
The evacuation of about 75 people in 23 homes and two restaurants on Monday came out of an abundance of caution after a huge hydrochloric acid spill. 
It all started when a person was driving by Predator Trucking -- located at 1775 N. State St. -- a little before 7:30 a.m. 
"They got a big poof of smoke coming out of the back of their building," the caller reported. 
The fire department was sent to the scene for what they thought was a structure fire. But once they got there, they quickly realized it was something else. 
"It wasn't really smoke, it was vapor coming from the product that was being released," said Weathersfield Fire Capt. Raymond Knepper. 
Firefighters encountered hydrochloric acid leaking from a 5,000-gallon tanker truck behind the building. Right away, they shut down 422 and evacuated people within a one-mile radius.

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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Earthworks Releases Air Quality Report for Noble Co., Ohio that Doesn’t Actually Include Any Air Quality Data

by Dan Alfaro, Energy in Depth

Earthworks and Clean Air Task Force (CATF) released a new “report” this week on air quality in Noble County, Ohio (among others) that is based entirely on anecdotes and debunked anti-fracking talking points rather than recent academic research and data showing emissions near Utica Shale development are protective of public health.
In a blatant attempt to alarm the public – and members of the media – the group relies on “Forward Looking Infrared” (FLIR) images as the basis of its report, a scare tactic it has employed repeatedly over the past several years.
The ultimate red herring, FLIR videos and images are used to deliberately mislead the public on emissions from a variety of oil and natural gas facilities. Anti-fossil fuel activists have even admitted that their FLIR videos are not backed by scientific evidence of any sort. Most recently, an Earthworks operative attempted to use FLIR footage to paint Oklahoma’s oil and gas sites as spewing “toxic pollution into the air, like an invisible oil spill.”
In a defining statement, Earthworks’ Hilary Lewis admitted during an interview with the Kingfisher Times & Free Press that FLIR images featured in an Earthworks/Coalition for Oklahoma Renewable Energy report offered no scientific data to support the report’s claims about Oklahoma oil and gas site emissions. As the Times & Free Press reported:
No air quality tests were conducted in connection with the infrared drone photographs to quantify what amount of methane or other pollutants, if any, were being emitted at the named well sites.”
EID and those in the scientific community have covered these attempts to distort scientific evidence (or lack thereof) extensively over the years, and as our recent FLIR fact sheet shows, there is no merit to their use as evidence of anything other than deliberately mislead the public:
Earthworks has been using FLIR videos as the focal point of its recycled “Threat Maps” project, a oft-regurgitated effort designed to influence Congress to adopt costly and duplicative Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Bureau of Land Management methane regulations.
Earthworks has absolutely no interest in actually collecting air quality data to scientifically support its alarmist claims, preferring to work backward from a conclusion to achieve its real goal – something they revealed in a recent tweet.
To see how FLIR videos are misleading, Energy in Depth spoke to  Dr. Ram Hashmonay, an international expert in the implementation of optical remote sensing who is credited with co-inventing modern radial plume mapping technology:
Here above, infrared footage of a steaming tea kettle. While it looks quite frightening in the image, we know the plum of steam means it’s tea time, not some toxic cloud to run from. There is a reason Earthworks and CATF rely on these videos – they can be quite frightening without proper context.
As Eagle Environmental air compliance specialist Trisha Fanning told Western Wire:
“The bottom line is that they are misleading, and they are misleading on the scare tactic. Optical gas imaging is nothing more than that, it’s imaging,” she continued, saying that individuals without proper FLIR training and the understanding of many other variables could easily misinterpret what the camera sees.”
Just as far removed from actual scientific evidence as the FILR images, the Earthworks/CATF report also claims that oil and natural gas development is somehow responsible for increased asthma attack rates – ignoring actual research that demonstrates otherwise. Just across the border in Pennsylvania, the state’s Department of Health data show that age-adjusted asthma hospitalizations rates in counties where oil and gas development is taking place are far lower than nine counties with no shale gas production at all. Asthma hospitalization rates in Pennsylvania’s most heavily drilled counties have also fallen considerably since the shale revolution began.
To place blame on oil and gas activity on higher asthma rates is folly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) latest asthma data, rural Vermont – a state that has completely banned fracking – actually has far higher asthma rates than the most heavily developed states in the country: Pennsylvania Texas, California, Alaska, North Dakota, and, yes, Ohio.
Facts show that it is because of increased natural gas (use made possible by fracking) that nitrogen oxide – a major ozone precursor – has decreased dramatically in recent years. That’s why EPA data show ozone levels are decreasing.
The “case-studies” featured in the report, like the one in Noble County, Ohio are not based in science or new evidence, but rather old data used in their efforts to rehash a failed attempt to update the U.S. EPA’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS):
“EPA data shows that as a whole Noble County, despite its agrarian nature exemplified by the Smith’s farm, ozone pollution is so high that it barely meets federal standards (which is far from clean air).”
Bottom line, Noble County is meeting federal ozone standards. The levels Earthworks and other groups are seeking are so ridged the American Action Forum found that 100 national and state parks might not meet their favored NAAQS standards. The lists included Death Valley National Park, Sequoia National Park, Big Bend National Park and Cape Cod National Seashore. That’s why the effort was opposed across the deck by elected officials and regulatory agencies across the country, including Ohio’s EPA.
Ozone forming emissions across the country have been cut in half since 1980, according to the U.S. EPA, and are expected to drop by another 36 percent over the next few years.
Earthworks and CATF, while focusing on stale data and conjecture, ignore the findings of the most recent study on air quality – one that specifically draws from actual scientific findings from Noble County. Last year, the University of Cincinnati gathered air samples near production sites in three of the top producing oil and natural gas counties in Ohio — Guernsey, Noble and Belmont — to examine air quality near natural gas extraction. And according to a media report, lead researcher Dr. Erin Hayes told local elected officials during a recent presentation on the study that “none of the air sample averages exceeded EPA levels of health concern” after being evaluated for 63 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and formaldehyde.
The UC study is one of many studies based on actual air measurements and actual scientific research (read: not misleading FLIR videos) that have found emissions from oil and gas production sites are below the threshold that would indicate any threat to public health. These studies, uncoincidentally, have been ignored by Earthworks, CATF and other activist groups, whose claims of public health harms from fracking-related activities rely on “associations” rather than proof of causation.
According to EPA data, oil and gas related methane emissions have dropped dramatically, with methane emissions decreased by 14 percent since 1990, while natural gas and oil production have increased 50 and 21 percent, respectively, during that time. Associated volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions have also declined since the shale revolution took off.
It’s important to note that these decreases are largely a direct result of voluntarily measures such as those by ExxonMobil subsidiary XTO Energy serving as a recent example of the industry’s best practices and efforts to further curb emissions from the development process.
Clearly, for Earthworks and CATF, more unnecessary regulations are the end game for their efforts, as they state in their conclusion:
“Despite the availability of inexpensive solutions, oil and gas operators cannot be relied upon to reduce their emissions voluntarily, even when they clearly promise to do so. We need enforceable government safeguards to protect public health and the environment.”
At the end of the day, as UC and countless others demonstrate via actual scientific data, the oil and gas industry – following best practices – is already contributing to the decline in ozone related emissions. Use of natural gas has given the U.S. – and Ohio – cleaner air than we’ve had in decades. There will always be groups – like Earthworks and CATF – that will venture far from the path of scientific evidence to achieve their desired goal of a world without fossil fuels. As they’ve demonstrated here again, they have no problems ignoring science in favor of scare tactics to achieve that goal.

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Columbus Prepares to Vote on Anti-Fracking Initiative of Dubious Legality

From Columbus Underground:
A local grassroots campaign to give Columbusites the “legal teeth” to fight air, water and soil pollution has garnered enough support to get on the November ballot. 
Dubbed the Community Bill of Rights, the ordinance would establish local governance over oil and gas activities taking place within the City of Columbus. It’d also enable residents to hold companies liable for oil and gas activities in neighboring municipalities, should they harm the water, air or soil of Columbus. 
The Upper Scioto Watershed, Columbus’ main water source, is home to 13 active frack waste injection wells, and an additional four are permitted there. 
In the fracking, or hydraulic fracturing process, millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals are pumped through pipes deep into the ground (about 2,500 meters) and are then directed horizontally through the shale. The pressure creates perforations and fractures in the shale, releasing the natural gas trapped within. While some of the resulting waste remains underground, much of it comes back up, and it contains both the chemicals used in the process, as well as potentially radioactive materials from the shale.
And further, from The Columbus Dispatch:
A proposal to ban oil and gas extraction and waste disposal in Columbus received enough signatures to appear on the November ballot, though the legality of the initiative is in question. 
Organizers tried to put the measure on the ballot twice before, in 2015 and 2017, but didn’t get enough signatures. This time, though, the environmental group known as Columbus Community Bill of Rights collected 12,134 valid signatures, safely clearing the 8,990-signature requirement. 
The initiative, which still needs approval from the city council before it goes on the ballot, would make it illegal to drill for oil and natural gas in Columbus, store or dump drilling waste in the city or transport waste across the city. It also seeks to establish a “community bill of rights” including the right to safe soil, clean air and potable water. 
While there is no fracking happening in Columbus, “our concern is the waste coming into the city,” said Bill Lyons, a Clintonville resident who has helped organize the movement. 
The waste can harm water, soil and air, Lyons said, and residents of the city should be allowed to determine whether they want to be exposed to those risks. Cities currently do not have control over that because a 2004 law gave the Ohio Department of Natural Resources sole regulation over oil and gas exploration and operation. 
“We should be the ones, because we live in this community, to decide if we want to take that risk or not,” Lyons said. 
He acknowledged the possibility that 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.

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Big Oil Equals Big Paychecks, New Data Reveals

From Bloomberg:
Move over Wall Street titans and Silicon Valley giants. When it comes to paychecks, Big Oil now looks like the best bet for U.S. workers.

Spurred partly by the shale boom, the median pay for energy workers last year was $123,000, according to data newly mandated by the U.S. That topped all sectors, including utilities, tech and health care. While energy chief executives made an eye-popping 120 times more, the gap with their employees was still the second-smallest among all industries.

What’s fueling this paycheck potency? First, a reliance on geologists, petroleum engineers and other highly skilled, well compensated professionals. Add to that the efforts needed to retain expertise -- and lure young talent -- after the recent oil price rout led to hundreds of thousands of job losses.

“They had to retain critical employees at almost any cost,” said Bill Arnold, a former Royal Dutch Shell Plc executive who now teaches energy management at Houston’s Rice University. “Companies had little managerial flexibility.”
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Utica Rig Count Hits Lowest Point in Months on Latest ODNR Report

New permits issued last week: 1  (Previous week: 5-4
Total horizontal permits issued: 2843  (Previous week: 2843+-0
Total horizontal wells drilled: 2372 (Previous week: 2371+1
Total horizontal wells producing: 1929 (Previous week: 1913+16
Utica rig count: 16 (Previous week: 18)  -2

The Utica rig count did hit a low point of 9 in June 2016, but since rebounding to a high of 28 in August of last year it has consistently hovered around 20.  Now it's trending back down again.

The highest rig count we've seen during the shale boom was 59 in December 2014.

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Monday, July 16, 2018

Digging Deep Into 2018 1st Quarter Utica Shale Production Data

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has now released the production data from the Utica shale for the first quarter of 2018. As always, we are going to give you a look at how the numbers compare to past quarters, past years, and how they break down among the various drillers who are active in Ohio and the counties where they are drilling. We'll look at where the production numbers would end up for 2018 if they continue at the same pace as the first quarter. 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 first quarter of 2018. As a reminder, all oil figures are 42-gallon barrels, and all gas production is measured in MCF:

Total oil production dropped for the first time since quarter four of 2016, while oil production rates - both by the well and by the day - hit a new low since quarter one of 2014 (remember, prior to that time production in Ohio was only reported on a yearly basis) for the second consecutive quarter.

Gas production, on the other hand, continues the streak of setting new high points for overall production and production rates.  

One other notable thing that shows the slowdown in activity: this is the smallest quarter-over-quarter increase in producing wells we've seen since quarterly reporting began.  Only 30 more wells actually reported production this quarter than in the previous one, where the smallest increase previously seen was 34 from quarter four of 2016 into quarter one of 2017.  Only 52 more wells total were on the report, matching the smallest increase in that column previously observed (which was also from 2016 Q4 to 2017 Q1).

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

The oil production slowdown in the first quarter puts 2018 off to an early pace that would lead to the lowest overall oil production of the last four years.

The increasing natural gas production continues to be impressive, with things on pace for over 2,000,000,000 MCF of natural gas to be produced in 2018, the first time Ohio would see shale production hit that milestone.


Here are the top 10 oil-producing wells in quarter one of 2018:

Eclipse Resources dominates the list of top oil-producing wells yet again this quarter, with 7 of the 10 wells.  The top two wells in 2018 quarter one were the same two wells that topped the production list in 2017 quarter four. 

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

Eclipse Resources rode the Herrick East 11H well into the top spot this quarter after Ascent Resources had owned all of the top 10 gas producers in the previous quarter.  The overall production and production rates from these 10 wells were both up from the previous quarter.


Here is the production data broken down by county:

Guernsey County continues to be the top spot for oil production, with the highest rates and overall output.

As for gas production, Belmont County continues to have the most overall production.  However, Jefferson County raced past it this month to be the highest producing county in terms of amount of gas per well and per day in production.


And here are the results broken down by operator:

Gulfport Appalachia saw tremendous gas production rates in the first quarter of 2018, albeit from just six wells.  It claims the highest gas producers by rate from Rice Energy for the first time in a long time.

Eclipse Resources strong oil production showed up on the top 10 oil wells list, and it shows up again on this report.  Not only did it have the highest oil production rates, but it is only slightly over 4,000,000 barrels behind Chesapeake Exploration in total oil production despite the fact that Eclipse has only 106 wells with production compared to Chesapeake's 698.

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, July 13, 2018

Rogue Anti-Fracking Groups Use Independence Day for ‘Most Kid Friendly’ Protest Camp Ever

by Jackie Stewart, Energy in Depth

Most Ohio families celebrated the Fourth of July with their children by participating in activities such as barbecuing, watching fireworks and taking in patriotic parades. But that wasn’t the case for everyone. Appalachia Resist! – the most rogue anti-fracking group in the state – gathered in Athens, not to celebrate the national holiday, but instead to train children in “workshop responsibilities” that included “jail solidarity, indigenous resistance, direct action, and pipeline construction/fracking infrastructure” obstruction.
Sadly, this is not the first time this group (and others) have exploited children as part of their “Keep It In the Ground” cause, but it’s certainly one of the most extreme incidents, with these kids presumably forced by their activist parents to spend Independence Day braving Ohio’s record high temperatures for an agenda that very few in the Buckeye State support. What’s more is that Appalachia Resist! once again partnered with Earth First! for this Fourth of July “kid-friendly” workshop that included such topics as “monkeywrenching” – an activity both groups have a history of using as part of their repertoire of criminal activities.
According to Earth First!’s website, monkeywrenching is defined as:
“Monkeywrenching: Ecotage, ecodefense, billboard bandits, desurveying, road reclamation, tree spiking, even fire. All of these terms describe the unlawful sabotage of industrial extraction and development equipment, as a means of striking at the Earth’s destroyers where they commit their crimes and hitting them where they feel it most—in their profit margins.” (emphasis added)
Earth First! co-founder  Mike Roselle has described monkeywrenching as, “[M]ore than just sabotage, and you’re g*ddamn right, it’s revolutionary! This is jihad.”  As EID highlighted six year ago, Earth First Journal! is essentially a roadmap to getting away with illegal acts of destruction. To that point, the workshop included exactly that — a roadmap for blockades, pipeline protest skills and media strategies. In fact, the groups are even holding two workshops on “zombie equipment” ?! (Perhaps that’s the so-called “kid-friendly” portion of the workshop responsibilities…)
But I digress. Violence and the use of children by Appalachia Resist! is concerning, and even more so given the group’s previous history of both. Recall that just last year, this same group put out a disturbing video, narrated by a child, saying “fracking kills” and “the danger is especially high for children, babies and nursing mothers,” as well as a host of other absurd claims. The video also features Appalachia Resist! leader Peter Gibbons-Ballew, who was recently charged with civil disobedience, inducing panic, and hindering and failure to comply, after shutting down a busy intersection by chaining himself to a pipe in downtown Columbus.
Warning: once you’ve seen this video, it can’t be unseen.
Fast-forward a year later, and this group has apparently doubled down on its continued use of children to advance its campaign. In fact, ahead of the Independence Day “kid-friendly” workshop, Appalachia Resist! dedicated an entire paragraph to encouraging people to bring children out to the event. According to their own website,
“We’re trying to make this year’s rendezvous the most kid friendly rendezvous ever, with workshop, responsibilities, and discussions, with and for the kids. You can help by bringing your kids, or encouraging and helping your friends who have kids, to attend.” (emphasis added)
Ironically, the appeal for children to attend comes just after the group warns of hot temperatures, and the following,
“There will be many insects including mosquitoes and ticks.  There is a high chance you will encounter poison ivy.  Nights around here can be very noisy with the matting/kinship/territory calls of frogs, insects, birds, and mammals that are active at night.  There are three venomous snakes in the area; rattlesnakes, copperheads and possibly cottonmouths. You are unlikely to be lucky enough to see one of them. Coyote & bobcats are the largest predators that live in the area, although eastern black bear have been sighted passing through.”
According to eyewitness accounts, about 30 vehicles – roughly half of which drove in (using fossil fuels) from out-of-state locations as far away as North Carolina, California and Oregon – were parked outside of the event. And while that is a decidedly low turnout, the fact remains that every major criminal incident committed against fracking in Ohio has included a member of this group. And now they are indoctrinating children into these violent efforts.

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