Showing posts from April, 2013

New EPA Estimates Go Against Claims of Fracking Opponents

From U.S. News and World Report: Hydraulic fracturing has generated many byproducts in recent years – more jobs, more  tax revenue for city and state governments, more domestically produced natural gas and crude oil, and of course, more controversy. Though opponents have argued that fracking substantially contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, new estimates from the Environmental Protection Agency show that the leakage of methane – a greenhouse gas – from wells, pipelines and other infrastructure is much lower than previously believed, thanks in large part to better pollution controls implemented by the industry itself, according to the  Associated Press . Recently released EPA estimates of methane emissions between 1990 and 2010 are 20 percent less than previous estimates, the AP reported, even as natural gas production has grown by almost 40 percent during the same period. Read the entire story here.  Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

Fracking Cleared of Water Contamination Claims in Pennsylvania

From The Epoch Times: Methane found in water wells in Franklin Forks in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, did not come from fracking, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).   “After a 16-month investigation, the Department of Environmental Protection has determined that high levels of methane found in three private water wells in Franklin Township, Susquehanna County, cannot be attributed to natural gas drilling activity in that geographical area,” a statement from the DEP said Monday. Water  samples  were pulled from three private water wells and compared with samples taken from natural gas wells located nearby. Both samples were compared with water samples from Salt Springs State Park, which historically contains naturally occurring methane. The park is located one mile from the affected homes. Read the rest here. This particular contamination case was part of the focus of Yoko Ono & Co.'s bus tour of Pennsylvania a couple of mo

Stark County Seeing Impact From Shale Despite Lack of Permitting and Drilling Activity

From The Independent: The past and future of Ohio’s petroleum industry are next-door neighbors in the Beck Industrial Park, where an idle pumpjack rusts a few yards from the rising steel skeleton of Chesapeake Energy’s new regional field office. When Chesapeake’s complex is finished, it will have a five-story office building, silos, a maintenance facility and employ 400 workers in the company’s Utica Shale drilling operations. For now, it’s mostly a gravel parking lot for the heavy equipment used to horizontally drill and hydraulically fracture wells. Not much to look at. The same could be said for shale development in Stark County, where only seven Utica wells have been drilled, and just two are producing oil or natural gas. Look beyond those numbers, however, and Stark County’s strategic position in the Utica Shale region is easier to see. Read the whole article here.  Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

Carroll County Changing Quickly Thanks to Shale Exploration

From The Independent: In the stagecoach days, travelers came to Harlem Springs for the “healing” waters that bubbled from the ground. Robert E. Lee and William Henry Harrison paid visits to the resort. The hamlet even had a college. None of it lasted. The namesake springs lost their mineral potency by the Civil War, then ran dry, explained local historian Janice Lane. The college moved to another town. Harlem Springs today is a cluster of houses along a wide curve on state Route 43, seemingly passed by traffic and time. But a couple of miles away, at the end of a winding country road, a humming sprawl of white tanks and pipes is harnessing a new underground resource in this southeastern corner of Carroll County. During initial production, the “Coe 34-12-4 1H” well generated the equivalent of 2,200 barrels of oil in a 24-hour period, according to its owner, Chesapeake Energy. That’s enough energy to supply 120 Ohio households for a year. Five miles to the south, more well

Local Businesses Feeling the Benefits of Shale Boom

From The Independent: Local businesses are getting their share of what some might call the Utica Shale bonanza. Some companies have bought trucks and other equipment. Many have added employees. A few have opened new offices or expanded facilities. Efforts to pump oil and natural gas from the Utica Shale have led to more than just a handful of new service jobs at local hotels and restaurants, said David C. Kaminski, director of energy and public affairs for the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce. Stark County historically has swarmed with oil men looking for a spot to drill and bring oil or gas to the surface. Companies that for years have directly or indirectly been involved with the oil and gas industry are seeing business increase because of the Utica Shale. “This is, once again, not a new business to us,” Kaminski said of oil and gas drilling. “It just a business that’s operating at a greater scale.” Read the whole article by clicking here.  Connect with us on Fa

The Ins and Outs of Ohio's Forced Pooling Laws

From the Youngstown Vindicator: In Portage and Stark counties, on a vast stretch of 958 acres straddling Lake and Suffield townships, natural  gas company  Chesapeake Energy had a plan to drill six horizontal shale wells — all from one pad.   It was still early in the Utica Shale play in 2011.The company set out to secure all the mineral rights it could across the plot, but ran into a problem: 23 landowners and homeowners who could not be reached or had no interest in selling the oil and gas reserves thousands of feet below their property.   So in November 2011, for the first time in the Utica Shale play, the company turned to a rarely used section of Ohio law governing the development of the state’s mineral resources: It filed a request for unit operations with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. Eight months later, in July 2012, the division approved the request, forcing those 23 holdouts,  accounting  for 70 acres, into

Barnesville School District Agrees to $400,000 Drilling Lease

From The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register: As Antero Resources continues locking up acreage in the village, the natural gas driller will pay Barnesville Exempted Village  School  District more than $400,000. "It sounds like this is going to be a busy place for the next few years," said school Superintendent Randy Lucas. "They gave us a ballpark guess that they would start drilling sometime over the next two years." Denver-based Antero already has signed the village of Barnesville to a drilling contract, along with many individual landowners in the community. The deals call for Antero to pay $5,700 per acre to lease the land and 20 percent of production royalties once the gas starts pumping. These are also the terms of the school district's contract, Lucas said, noting the board of education voted unanimously to accept the deal. Read the entire story by clicking here. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

Aubrey McClendon Hangs Out Giant "Now Hiring" Sign

From Forbes: If you work in the oil and gas business then here’s a chance to get in on the ground floor of something big. Aubrey McClendon  has not wasted any time. Less than a month after his departure from  Chesapeake Energy   CHK   +0.42% , the legendarily controversial empire-builder has already launched his new venture: American  Energy  Partners. And better yet: he’s hiring. Here’s a picture that a reader sent in of one of the billboards that he’s put up in Oklahoma City — three at last count. Two of them flank the site of his new office, which is across the street from Chesapeake’s campus. Read the whole article here.  Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

MarkWest Pipeline Construction Spills in Area Draw the Attention of Ohio EPA

Slurry isn't poisonous, but still has damaging effects (Photo: Columbus Dispatch) From The Columbus Dispatch: A series of pipeline-construction spills by one company has the Ohio EPA demanding answers and environmental-advocacy groups warning that this is one more activity tied to fracking that is endangering streams and wetlands. Ohio Environmental Protection Agency officials call the spills “ inadvertent returns.” They involve a lubricant made of clay and water that sometimes gushes unexpectedly from the ground when builders drill tunnels to  install  natural-gas pipelines. Ohio EPA records show that Denver-based MarkWest Energy had four spills between Sept. 17 and Feb. 9, polluting streams and wetlands in Harrison and Belmont counties. The Harrison County spills included one late last summer affecting Brushy Fork near Cadiz, and a Nov. 4 spill near Cadiz that fouled 1 1/2 miles of Boggs Fork and a nearby wetland and took more than three months to clean up. “I find t

4/26/13 Links: Hollywood Actors and Career Activists Say Fracking is Dangerous While Scientists Say It's Safe, Kasich's Severance Tax Attacked Again, and More

The Hill's E2-Wire: Interior chief Jewell: "One size doesn't fit all" on fracking Columbus Business First:   Oil and Gas Association chief says "tenacious" Kasich wrong on severance tax on drillers Energy in Depth:   Debunking Gasland Part II ThinkProgress:   New Report Details How National Parks Are Threatened By Oil and Gas Drilling Greeley Tribune: Fracking is safe, scientists say at Vail energy forum CNN:   Greenpeace director Phil Radford and actor Mark Ruffalo say fracking isn't safe Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

Chesapeake Rep: Oil and Gas is Very Good for Columbiana County

From the Tribune Chronicle: The shale gas industry is good news for the economic revitalization of Columbiana County and for the American economy at large, according to Keith A. Fuller, an executive from Chesapeake Energy, who spoke Thursday afternoon at a luncheon hosted by the Wellsville Area Chamber of Commerce. The gas and oil industry as a whole has invested nearly $7 billion in the area, Fuller said, which has been transferred to numerous local businesses, to landowners who have leased their property for exploration, and as investments in infrastructure to meet industry needs. He also expounded upon the job-creating benefits of the industry, saying that 410 people across 150 professions are required to bring a single gas well online, a total that doesn't include workers in local stores, restaurants and gas stations that receive more business along the way. Read the whole article here.  Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

The Atlantic Asks the Question: What If We Never Run Out of Oil?

From The Atlantic: As the great  research ship  Chikyu  left Shimizu in January to mine the explosive ice beneath the Philippine Sea, chances are good that not one of the scientists aboard realized they might be closing the door on Winston Churchill’s world. Their lack of knowledge is unsurprising; beyond the ranks of petroleum-industry historians, Churchill’s outsize role in the history of energy is insufficiently appreciated.   Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty in 1911. With characteristic vigor and verve, he set about modernizing the Royal Navy, jewel of the empire. The revamped fleet, he proclaimed, should be fueled with oil, rather than coal—a decision that continues to reverberate in the present. Burning a pound of fuel oil produces about twice as much energy as burning a pound of coal. Because of this greater energy density, oil could push ships faster and farther than coal could.   Churchill’s proposal led to emphatic dispute

Shale Gas Review Takes a Look at Ohio Injection Wells

From Shale Gas Review: The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Oil and Gas Data base has online production records that show the early history of the Sauter well, when it was developed by Dome Producing, but nothing since it was converted to an injection well in the early 1990s under the ownership of S & H Water Service. Mark Bruce, a spokesman for the DNR, explained that the agency was still adding to its online data base, and he forwarded me files that I had requested. They included 10 notices of violations between 1991 and 2009 for leaks, substandard equipment specifications, missing records, and a complaint by a town zoning official on behalf of residents about noise, smells and truck traffic.  Citations are not unusual for injection and production wells, and it’s hard to gauge their significance and effectiveness in the broader context of things. ProPublica’s Abrahm Lustgarten offered this perspective in a  June, 2012 piece for Scientific America: A ProPublica re

Links for 4/25/13: Gasland II Review, Biased Reporting, and Much More

I'm trying to finish next month's edition of Energy News Ohio today, so I haven't had a lot of time for individual posts.  But to keep you caught up, here are links to some of the stories that caught my eye: SFGate:   PA. high court settles shale gas rights question Energy in Depth:   The Activist Reading List Star-Telegram:  Range Resources can seek defamation case against Parker County landowner, court says New York Times:   In Fracking Fight, Opposites Attract Forbes:   Harvard's FracFocus Study Grades an "F" Washington Free Beacon:   Gasland Part II gins up fears, plays loose with the facts Energy in Depth:   Blog Archive Reporter, Disclose Thyself Forbes:   Shale Boom is Real Enough Zanesville Times Recorder:   Port Authority joins shale marketing effort to bring brokers, jobs Akron Beacon Journal:   New campaign under way to boost truck safety in drilling regions Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

FracFocus Responds to Negative Harvard Study

From the FracFocus website: On April 23, 2013 we were made aware of a study released by Harvard University in which they assert that FracFocus is not a good tool for regulatory purposes. According to Stan Belieu, Deputy Director of the Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and current President of GWPC , “The FracFocus website was developed and  is managed by the state oil and gas regulatory programs and I am not aware of any state regulatory program that has been contacted by Harvard University to make inquiry of its capabilities, I do not understand how, without direct contact, this study can draw the conclusions it has.” In the Summary section of the report Harvard made statements regarding 3 specific issues.  The following is a GWPC response to these statements: Harvard statements:  1. Timing of Disclosures. State laws attach penalties to a company’s late submittal of, or failure to submit, chemical disclosures. However, FracFocus does not notify a state when it r

Ohio Utica Shale Permit Count Hits 616, Over 300 Wells Drilled

The latest Ohio DNR permit report reveals that 12 new permits were issued last week, bringing the total to 616. 7 permits were issued last week to Chesapeake Energy for Carroll County sites, while there were 3 issued in Harrison County and 1 each in Guernsey and Washington counties. The report states that there are now 305 wells drilled in Ohio, with 89 producing.  The Utica rig count is 32. View the ODNR report by clicking here. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

Rosebud Pushes Forward with Coal Mine Application in Heart of Shale Gas Boom

We received the following press release from Carroll Concerned Citizens: CARROLLTON, OHIO: Carroll Concerned Citizens will review Rosebud Mining Company’s Carrollton Mine application updates at its May 2 meeting. The company plans to move ahead with an initial 9,600 acre shallow underground mine and surface mine portal operation on the former Teeter property just east of the Field of Dreams in Union Township. Paul Feezel of Carroll Concerned Citizens commented, “We have to consider this just the tip of the iceberg as Rosebud has stated that they eventually plan to expand their mining operation to include at least 30,000 acres of their coal holdings in Carroll County.” This will be the first intersection of shallow coal mining and the new shale gas well drilling operations in the State of Ohio. Feezel added, “ODNR plans to use only a 150 foot coal buffer between wells and active mining and we worry that any mine subsidence could damage gas well casings critical to

Off-Topic - If You Ever Have a Hard Drive Disaster...

A brief break from our normal programming... Last month I went through a very rough stretch after the hard drive on my 1-year old HP laptop failed.  2 days out of warranty, and all of a sudden my computer was useless.  Not only would it not power up, but I found out that despite the best efforts of a friend who makes his living working on computers, my data could not be recovered by any of the recovery software out there.  Like a fool, I hadn't backed up hardly any of the data.  Now what? I was shell-shocked. All I could think of is how stupid I was for not backing up my data, how thousands of hours of work were gone in the blink of an eye. I started researching professional data recovery companies, requesting some free quotes. Some had interesting pricing packages listed on their website, but a quick check around the web revealed that many had been charged more than expected by such companies, or had been required to pay non-refundable fees before recovery was attempted

Trumbull County Residents Angry About Disturbances from Drilling

From the Tribune Chronicle: Constant noise, flood lights, smell of diesel fuel and worries about the safety of their drinking water were enough for some residents of the Westwood Lake mobile home park who live a stone's throw from a Utica Shale natural gas well where fracking began last week. But when apparently misguided trucks heading for the well site ended up on the park's quiet dead-end street in recent weeks - including one driver banging on the door of Dave Clouser's home at 3 a.m. - frustrations really grew. Clouser and his neighbor, Pat McCrudden, said they knew of three or four trucks that had headed down their neatly manicured lane in recent weeks, apparently guided by coordinates for Halcon Resources' Kibler Well entered into GPS devices. Read the whole article here.  Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

Report Suggests Rapid Expansion of Renewable Energy Investments

From Bloomberg: The plunge in the cost of wind and solar power that bankrupted more than two dozen manufacturers is forecast to spur a tripling of investment in renewables by 2030 and to reduce the grip fossil fuels have on world energy supply. Annual spending on clean-energy projects that don’t add to greenhouse-gas pollution may rise to $630 billion at the end of the next decade from $190 billion last year, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said in a report today. That’s 37 percent more than estimated in November 2011 and means renewables would account for half of all generation capacity by 2030. The findings contrast with production gluts that made most solar and wind manufacturers unprofitable last year, tipping a unit of  Suntech Power Holdings Co. (STP)  into bankruptcy and Vestas Wind Systems A/S (VWS)  into record losses. While suppliers are suffering, lower equipment prices are making more projects profitable to develop and advancing the day when renewables can rival coal an

Study Concludes that FracFocus is Not Good Enough as a Compliance Tool

Harvard Law School: Legal Fractures in Chemical Disclosure Laws from Marcellus Drilling News Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

Truck Hauling Sand for Shale Operations Overturns in Fatal Carroll County Crash

From the Times Reporter: Troopers identified the man as James C. Masterson, 54, of Poland, Ohio. Masterson was pronounced dead at Aultman Hospital in Canton. Masterson was driving a 2012 Freightliner tractor-trailer southbound at 5:24 p.m. on Route 9, just south of Autumn Road, when he failed to negotiate a right curve and lost control. The tractor-trailer overturned and went off the left side of the road. At the time, he was hauling 44,000 pounds of sand in conjunction with the oil and gas exploration industry. The whole article can be viewed here.  The accident is still under investigation. We extend our sincere condolences to Mr. Masterson's family and friends. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

Report Says Shale Boom is Adding Little to U.S. Economic Growth

From Business Insider: The Washington Post 's Brad Plumer points us to a note from Capital Economics' Paul Dales that makes a fairly radical assertion: America's shale boom has barely moved the needle on domestic economic growth.  While the industry accounts for 2.5% of overall GDP, it's contributed just 0.6 percentage points (ppts) to the 7.6% rise in GDP since the recession, he says. Exploration and production investment has increased by 56%, but this represents only a $36 billion chunk of to real GDP, or 0.3 ppts of the increase. Read the whole article here.  Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

Another Article Jumps in to Throw Cold Water on Utica Shale Naysayers

From the Tribune Chronicle: The Ohio Department of Natural Resources estimated there was up to 5.5 billion barrels of oil reserves, something The MotLey Fool now says "might have been a bit too optimistic." But, wait, it followed that up with, "That doesn't mean that the Utica isn't going to turn out to be a very profitable play for some companies. "In fact, for the right operator that has the right location, the Utica looks like it will turn out to be a very important driver of both profit and production growth for years to come." So, while expectations may be scaled back, it's a matter of recalibrating a tape-measure home run to one that just clears the fence. It's still a home run. Read the rest of the article here.  Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

Chesapeake Opens Field Office in Belmont County

From The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register: Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy extracts hundreds of barrels of oil and millions of cubic feet of natural gas in West Virginia's Northern Panhandle each day. And the driller now has a field office open in Ohio at Fox Commerce Park, just west of St. Clairsville, a facility that Sue Douglass believes could soon be home to many workers. "We anticipate there being over 100 employees going in and out of there," said Douglass, Belmont County Community Improvement Corp. and Department of Development director. "They have told us they want to hire local people, but they always direct people to their website for hiring." Read the whole article here.  Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

Reviews Start to Appear for Gasland Part II

Josh Fox and Yoko Ono bask in the spotlight together at the Gasland Part II premiere Reviews are starting to pop up for Gasland Part II in the aftermath of its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. From Science in Film: The audience rose for a standing ovation after the sold-out  Gasland Part II  documentary. It was a world  premier  of the new movie on fracking held at the  Tribeca Film Festival  in New York City on April 21. This movie shows  film and entertainment  at its best, informing and enlightening the audience on an important, global political issue of our time. Fracking became a dirty word after it contaminated water and land in Pennsylvania and Wyoming communities. Fracking is a type of gas drilling that uses hundreds of toxic chemicals injected into deep wells. The drilling breaks up shale rock and forces out subterranean shale gas.  Gasland , the 2010 movie in the  documentary film genre , followed the dirty trail of chemicals. They went from gas drilling to

2 More Ohio Landowners Find Themselves Forced into Drilling Units

...with your land From Oil & Gas Law Report: The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) recently issued two more unitization orders pursuant to R.C. 1509.28. These two orders bring the total number to four since the beginning of the Utica Shale play. As we discussed  after the last order was released , this statute is becoming a valuable tool for operators as they cobble together the rights to drill horizontal production wells. In the early stages of the Utica shale play, each new unitization order is noteworthy for operators who are trying to plan drilling units and to help companies evaluate their lease holdings. The process of unitization is conceptually related to mandatory pooling (R.C. § 1509.27), and is part of our ongoing blog series on Ohio’s compelled participation laws. (Read  part 1  and  part 2 .). A unitization order allows oil and gas operators to join, or unitize, recalcitrant mineral owners to create large tracts of land — often comprising hundreds