Thursday, June 27, 2019

Former EQT CEO Says Shale Producers Are Killing Themselves

From S&P Global:
The shale gas revolution is over and Appalachia's top producers need to radically change their behavior if they want to survive, according to former EQT Corp. CEO Steve Schlotterbeck. 
"The biggest problem facing the upstream industry, frankly, is the industry itself," said Schlotterbeck, who created the nation's largest natural gas producer by volume with the merger of EQT and neighbor Rice Energy in November 2017. "The shale gas revolution has been an unmitigated disaster for any buy and hold investor." 
Speaking at Petroleum Update's 2019 Northeast Petrochemical Conference in Pittsburgh, Schlotterbeck said upstream producers must change their orientation away from production growth that has swamped the market to delivering yield for their investors. Slashing drilling efforts to the bare bones while paying a healthy dividend with free cash is the path forward, he said. 
"The industry is self-destructing from the success of the shale gas technologies," said Schlotterbeck, now working as a special partner for energy at M&A advisory firm Stone Pier Capital Advisors LP. "They continue to believe that volume growth is necessary for them to be successful, although we now have several years of data that demonstrates the opposite."
Read more by clicking here. 

Error-Ridden Study Links Fracking to Higher Radon Levels in Ohio

From the Athens News:
A new academic study linking the amount of radon present in a home to its proximity to deep-shale oil and gas “fracking” wells cites Athens County as having the most of these wells in the state of Ohio, with 108.

There’s one problem with that statistic: Athens County does not have 108 deep-shale fracking wells. In fact, it has zero. The number of horizontally drilled fracking wells in some eastern Ohio counties shown on a map that’s part of the study also appears to be incorrect.

Mark Bruce, a spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Oil and Gas Resource Management, said Friday that the agency is working with the University of Toledo researchers who performed the radon/fracking study “to get their numbers right.”

It's unclear whether correcting the numbers of deep-shale fracking wells in the study will alter the conclusions of the study.
Click here to read more.

This study has been widely publicized on the internet, although the drastic errors it contains in listing what is basic, publicly available information the number of wells in various counties has not been reported as much.  It's obviously difficult to put much stock in the conclusions of the study when those behind it make such thoughtless mistakes, especially when the conclusions are all about proximity to shale wells.  If their numbers on wells are wildly inaccurate, then how accurate is the information they are using and providing regarding where the wells are located in relation to the locations that the radon data was sampled?

As the study abstract notes, the methodology of the information-gathering also calls into question the study's accuracy and impartiality, as all numbers were self-reported and subject to response bias.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Only One Permit Issued in Ohio's Utica Shale Last Week



New permits issued last week: 1 (Previous week: 7)  -6
Total horizontal permits issued: 3113 (Previous week: 3113 +-0
Total horizontal wells drilled: 2630 (Previous week: 2626)  +4
Total horizontal wells producing: 2222 (Previous week: 2222)  +-0
Utica rig count: 19 (Previous week: 18)  +1

Monday, June 24, 2019

Ascent Resources is Loving Life in the Utica Shale

From Kallanish Energy:
Like comedian Rodney Dangerfield, the Utica Shale gets no respect, and that’s wrong because the Utica is “really a phenomenal reservoir,” according to Jeff A. Fisher, CEO of Ascent Resources. 
The Utica play, primarily in eastern Ohio, is “still a bit misunderstood” and often overlooked, Fisher told an audience of roughly 600 Wednesday at Hart Energy’s 11th annual DUG East Conference and Exhibition in this Pennsylvania city. Kallanish Energy was in attendance. 
“This play really shines. The rock really performs,” he said. 
Defending the Utica’s ‘robustness’ 
There is no champion speaking out in defense of the Utica Shale and that’s unfortunate, he said before proceeding to defend the Utica and what he called its “robustness.” 
It produces dry natural gas, wet natural gas, natural gas liquids and condensate, depending on where in the Utica Shale you are drilling, Fisher said. His company has drilled 400 Utica wells and is the eighth-largest natural gas producer in the U.S.
Continue reading by clicking here. 

Bechtel Makes Public Statement Confirming Selection as Cracker Plant Project Manager

From the Pittsburgh Business Times:
Bechtel, the project manager for the massive Shell Chemicals plant under construction in Beaver County, is going to be the project manager for a similar project in Ohio if it is built. 
The news was confirmed Thursday in a presentation at the Northeast Petrochemical Exhibition and Conference by Paul Marsden, SVP of Bechtel'sunit in Pennsylvania. Bechtel is working along with Samsung on the project, Marsden said. But, he said, it depends on PTT Global Chemicals making a final investment decision on the project that has been expected for years. 
The Thai-based PTT Global Chemicals has been in the initial stages of a petrochemical plant on the banks of the Ohio River, about 60 miles south of Pittsburgh, in Belmont County, Ohio. PTT has been working on the project for years, and enlisted another company, South Korea-based Daelin, to help. But no final investment decision has been made. A spokesman for PTT in Ohio wasn't immediately available for comment. 
Bechtel had been rumored to be in the mix for general contractor for the project, as it is for the multibilliondollar Shell plant. The general contractor works with dozens of subcontractors and thousands of employees to make sure that everything goes as designed and planned. The agreement between Bechtel and PTT Global Chemical was reached earlier this year, Marsden said.
Read more by clicking here. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Congressman Bill Johnson Again Expresses Optimism Towards Belmont County Cracker Plant Being Built

From The Times Leader:
It was a full house at the JobsOhio’s public board meeting on Monday afternoon at the Ohio Mine Safety Training Center in Harrison County.

JobsOhio is a private nonprofit corporation designed to drive job creation and new capital investment in Ohio through business attraction and retention and expansion efforts. Numerous elected officials, department heads and seven of the nine JobsOhio board members were present at the meeting. 
Bob Smith, chairman of the board, began the meeting and thanked all who were in attendance. He then introduced Congressman Bill Johnson. 
Johnson, R-Ohio, discussed the actions of President Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War in reference to Ohio’s leadership skills. 
“So you’ve got the secretary of treasury, the commander in chief of the Army, and the two most prolific fighter generals that Lincoln could find, all from Ohio. You think about where we might have been, as a nation, if Lincoln had not surrounded himself with that group of Ohio leadership … ,” Johnson said. “The partnership that exists between APEG and JobsOhio, I can’t think of another state that is doing it the way we’re doing it here in Ohio and it is paying big big dividends.” 
Since January 2011 through this year, more than $70 billion of investment has come in to this region, he said. He added that 32 percent of the nation’s natural gas demand comes from this region and by 2050 it is estimated to be as much as 50 percent. 
“There is such a wealth of resources right here in our region. … I think there’s a lot of reasons to be optimistic about where we are, pride in where we’ve come from, and a lot of excitement about where we’re going,” he said. 
He said proposed the PTT Global Chemical-Dealim ethane cracker plant is in the final financing phase and that the developers have invested around $70 million in pre-construction and site preparation work. 
“Companies don’t put that kind of money into a no-go operation, folks. I’m telling you that we’re heading in the right direction,” he said.
Click here to read more. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Utica Rig Count Down for the Second Straight Week



New permits issued last week: 7 (Previous week: 11)  -4
Total horizontal permits issued: 3113 (Previous week: 3106 +7
Total horizontal wells drilled: 2626 (Previous week: 2613)  +13
Total horizontal wells producing: 2222 (Previous week: 2222)  +-0
Utica rig count: 18 (Previous week: 19)  -1

Friday, June 14, 2019

Risberg Pipeline Construction Enters Ohio

From the Star Beacon:
Construction on the Risberg natural gas pipeline has started in Ohio, near the state line. 
Pipe segments lined an area of clear ground south of Interstate 90 Wednesday, marking the path of the Risberg Pipeline. Construction started at the end of another pipeline in Meadville, Pennsylvania, and work has now entered Ohio, as the $86 million pipeline is getting closer and closer to it's end-point in North Kingsville. 
The pipeline includes 16 miles of new pipeline in Pennsylvania and 12 miles of new pipeline in Ohio.

"I don't think it's possible to overstate the need (for natural gas)," Conneaut City Manager Jim Hockaday said. 
Growth Partnership Executive Director Greg Myers has said in the past that the county has lost out on investment and job opportunities because of lack of access to natural gas. 
Work on the project started in March, with crews clearing land along the pipeline's path. At the time, the project was expected to finish in early summer, with some help from the weather.
Click here to keep on reading. 

President Trump Targeting Appalachian Basin for Energy Development

From the Washington Examiner:
The Trump administration’s battle for new energy infrastructure will center on Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania this summer, as members of the president’s cabinet work with state regulators to build the country’s first natural gas and petrochemical hub in Appalachia. 
Deputy Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette told John that he and others from the Energy Department, Transportation Department and other agencies have been charged by the president to produce a plan to overcome the regulatory hurdles to get the project off the ground. 
Meetings in the three shale-producing states are ongoing, with Kentucky — not a natural gas producer — also part of the conversation. Kentucky is seen as a major part of the logistics chain that will be needed to convert Appalachia into a thriving center for petrochemicals and energy exports along the Ohio River. 
Assistant Secretary Mark Menezeswill be sitting down with Ohio regulators in the next few days to discuss the hurdles to building a major hub. Pipeline capacity would also need to be improved in the region.
Read on by clicking right here. 

Monday, June 10, 2019

Utica Rig Count Drops Back Below 20 on Latest Report

WEEK ENDING 06/08/2019



New permits issued last week: 11 (Previous week: 4)  +7
Total horizontal permits issued: 3106 (Previous week: 3097 +9
Total horizontal wells drilled: 2613 (Previous week: 2608)  +5
Total horizontal wells producing: 2222 (Previous week: 2223)  -1
Utica rig count: 19 (Previous week: 21)  -2

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Anti-Fracking Researcher Quietly Admits: Studies Show No Harmful Pollutants Near Oil And Gas Sites

by Nicole Jacobs, Energy in Depth

The activist who wrote a 2012 memo encouraging anti-fracking groups to connect health problems and fracking even when no evidence existed to support the claims recently co-authored a report admitting that the vast majority of scientific research shows no harmful air pollutants near oil and natural gas sites. As the report explains,
“Air pollution near oil and gas production typically measures in concentrations within healthy air standards…”
Activist researcher and executive director of the openly anti-fracking Physicians Scientists & Engineers for Healthy Energy (PSEHE) Seth Shonkoff and his co-authors analyzed 37 peer-reviewed journal articles on hazardous air pollutants from 2012 to 2018, finding:
“[M]easurements of hazardous air pollutant concentrations near operational sites have generally failed to capture levels above standard health benchmarks; yet, the majority of studies continue to find poor health outcomes increasing as distance from these operations decreases.” (emphasis added)
Notably, where they found research that did capture traces of emissions in ambient air, the research team also conceded that oil and natural gas [ONG] is not the only potential source for these emissions, if it’s actually even the source at all:
“Many of the peer-reviewed studies investigated a broad range of target analytes in ambient air, several of which are ubiquitous in the environment and are sourced not only in upstream ONG operations. … The abundance of formaldehyde detection in ambient collected samples may actually indicate secondary atmospheric formation as the dominant source and not primary emissions released directly from an ONG point source.” (emphasis added)
Shonkoff doesn’t let facts get in the way of his “Keep It In the Ground” agenda.
But the report wasn’t actually about admitting that oil and natural gas sites aren’t emitting harmful pollutants. Instead, Shonkoff’s team sought to explain the disparity between epidemiological studies that claim proximity to well sites increases health risks – the same types of studies that Shonkoff encouraged in his 2012 memo – and this large volume of research that shows the lack of emissions to make those claims stick.
From the report:
“Despite findings of a spatial dimension of health data near upstream ONG development, measured pollutant concentrations, including concentrations of HAPs, were generally below health-based standards. It is unclear why ambient air samples have failed to capture concentrations above health benchmarks while the majority of epidemiological studies continue to find incidence of poor health outcomes increasing as distance from these operations decreases.”
Despite admitting that “it is unclear why ambient samples have failed to capture concentrations above health-based standards,” Shonkoff and his co-authors claim that “methodological shortcomings” in the emissions studies are at fault for these disparities between the studies. This finding is unsurprising given that Shonkoff emphasized in his 2012 memo that epidemiological health studies labeling oil and natural gas as a threat are “crucial to the engagement in litigious battles, to drive regulation, and to hold the oil and gas industry accountable for their actions.”
Conclusion
The likely motivation for such a report stems from a 2017 decision by the Mount Pleasant Zoning Board in Pennsylvania that rejected Shonkoff as an expert witness after finding his testimony that fracking is harmful to public health “to be equivocal, not properly founded, and not credible.” The ruling was based on the grounds that, among other things, he ignored numerous air emissions studies that found no elevated risks in his testimony.
And while Shonkoff will now be armed with the ability to cite himself should a similar line of questioning arise when he’s giving future presentations or testifying, it doesn’t change the fact that the epidemiological research Shonkoff misleadingly touts does not align with air quality studies of oil and natural gas well sites. But at least “Keep It In the Ground” activists now have to admit that to be the case.

Construction Begins on Gas-Fired Power Plant in Monroe County

From The Herald Star:
Before it closed in 2013, the Ormet Aluminum Corp. in Monroe County used the same amount of power in a day that the entire city of Pittsburgh did.

“And that was 540 megawatts of power we were using,” explained Robert Cox, general manager of the Long Ridge Energy Terminal, on the former Ormet site. 
On Thursday, the terminal at 43840 state Route 7, north of Hannibal, hosted those representing local, state and national partners at the site to break ground for a new 485-megawatt natural gas power plant estimated to be complete in two and a half years. 
Cox has been on the site managing operations for 30 years and saw the Ormet plant at its peak production capacity until its closing in 2013. 
“That closure really impacted the local economy, it took a hit,” noted Ed Looman, project manager of the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth. 
The facility closed due to high utility costs after the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio did not grant rate relief the company said it needed for electricity.
Click here to continue reading. 

Ohio House Approves Bill Requiring Ohio Electric Customers to Bail Out FirstEnergy Coal and Nuclear Plants

From Kallanish Energy:
The Ohio House of Representatives has approved a sweeping energy bill that boosts financial support for two struggling nuclear power plants and two coal-fired power plants, while gutting programs promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency, Kallanish Energy reports. 
The much-watched, much-debated bill was approved by a 53-43 vote. 
House Bill 6 would raise $200 million a year by imposing a new fee on all Ohio residential electric customers to support FirstEnergy Solutions, the owner of the Perry and Davis-Besse nuclear power plants in northern Ohio. 
That would amount of nearly $1.3 billion over the six years the legislation is slated to last, ending in 2027. Without the additional money from customers ($1 per customer), the plants will close within two years, said the company, which is spinning off from Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp. It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year. 
The bill would erase Ohio’s clean-energy mandates that had been adopted in 2008. Under that plan, Ohio utilities were required to produce 12.5% of their energy from renewable sources by 2027. That is backed by a $4.39 per month fee paid by Ohio electricity customers.
You can read more by clicking here. 

FirstEnergy Corp. reported earnings of $981 million last year.

Activists Going After Export Pipelines in Hopes of Stopping Future Development

From the Houston Chronicle:
With growing volumes of natural gas from Texas and the rest of the United States sold abroad, developers are rushing to build new pipelines connecting oil and gas fields with border crossings and shipping ports. 
But a growing number of landowners and environmentalists are fighting those projects at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and in federal courts, challenging the notion that pipeline projects carrying gas destined for export are entitled to the same privileges granted infrastructure projects serving American customers. 
Under federal law, pipeline developers can seize land for construction as long as the project is deemed in “the public interest.” In the D.C Circuit Court of Appeals, the city of Oberlin, Ohio is challenging FERC’s 2017 approval of a 275-mile pipeline moving Appalachian natural gas to Michigan through their city, arguing in part FERC erred because a substantial portion of the gas will be exported to Canada.
Click here to read more. 

New Research Paper Says Fracking Saved Over 60,000 American Lives Over 6-Winter Period

From the Orange County Register:
Fracking helped save the lives of roughly 11,000 Americans each winter from 2005 to 2010, according to a recent National Bureau of Economic Research paper. 
How? By driving down energy prices and helping them affordably heat their homes. 
Demographers have long observed that low-income people die at higher rates during the winter months. This “excess winter mortality” has a simple, heartbreaking cause — people keep their dwellings uncomfortably cold to reduce their heating bills. Constant exposure to chilly temperatures makes it more likely that people will contract and succumb to respiratory and heart disease. 
Many low-income Americans also skimp on food and health care to afford their heating bills. Thirty-one percent of households struggle to pay energy bills. About 17 percent of U.S. households spend more than 10 percent of their total income on energy costs, mostly on heating.
Read on by clicking here. 

Utica Rig Count Jumps Over 20 on Latest Weekly ODNR Report

WEEK ENDING 06/01/2019



New permits issued last week: 4 (Previous week: 17)  -13
Total horizontal permits issued: 3097 (Previous week: 3093 +4
Total horizontal wells drilled: 2608 (Previous week: 2601)  +7
Total horizontal wells producing: 2223 (Previous week: 2186)  +37
Utica rig count: 21 (Previous week: 16)  +5

ODNR Publishes June 2019 Shale Activity Maps




ODNR Releases First Quarter 2019 Utica Shale Production Figures

From the Ohio Department of Natural Resources:
During the first quarter of 2019, Ohio’s horizontal shale wells produced 5,073,536 barrels of oil and 609,452,391 Mcf (609 billion cubic feet) of natural gas, according to figures released today by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. 
Natural gas production from the first quarter of 2019 showed a 14.57 percent increase over the first quarter of 2018, while oil production increased 28.69 percent for the same period. 
 2018 Quarter 1 (Shale)2019 Quarter 1 (Shale)Percentage Change
Barrels of oil3,942,329 bbl5,073,536 bbl28.69%
Mcf of natural gas531,954,017 Mcf609,452,391 Mcf14.57%

The ODNR quarterly report lists 2,277 horizontal shale wells, 2,228 of which reported oil and natural gas production during the quarter. Of the wells reporting oil and natural gas results: 
  • The average amount of oil produced was 2,277 barrels.
  • The average amount of natural gas produced was 273,542 Mcf.
  • The average number of first quarter days in production was 86.
Click here to view the entire production report.