Showing posts from February, 2015

Harrison County Continues to Take In Oil and Gas Money

From Shale Play: Harrison County Commissioner Don Bethel said the county has taken in $1.6 million in revenue from the oil and gas industry in the past week to 10 days.  The commission passed two agreements Wednesday, bolstering the total.  An agreement with Chesapeake Exploration for 3.96612 acres of county property pays the county $21,000 at $5,500 per acre with a 20 percent gross royalty provision. A second agreement with American Energy Utica for a right-of-way allowing placement of a water line over 60 feet of county property on the rail line for $500 was also approved.  Commissioners agreed that the oil and gas monies would be used to maximum benefit, identifying projects which had been neglected when the budget was operating in fiscal deficit.  In a related matter, Jim Williamson, a pipe fitter who had been working on construction of the MarkWest cryogenic facility at the Cadiz-Harrison County Industrial Park, spoke to the board about a concern he has about the oil a

White House Report Says States Are In Best Position to Regulate Shale Drilling

From Energy in Depth: A new  report  from the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) demonstrates that states, not the federal government, are best suited to regulate shale development. The report counters a common criticism from “ban fracking” groups, who have pushed for the U.S. EPA to regulate development.   As the report  states :   “The regulatory structure for addressing local environmental concerns, especially around land and water use, exists primarily at the state and local level.” (p. 280)   This complements the findings of the Groundwater Protection Council, which  concluded  last year that states are “on the forefront of regulating oil and gas.” As EID  reported  recently, states like Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, California and Colorado are also leading the way on regulations for wastewater disposal wells. The regulatory actions by these states are far more advanced than what EPA would require – and, because they have the flexibility to implement their own progr

Ohio Supreme Court Ruling Doesn't Slam Door Shut on Local Regulation of Drilling

As we covered in the blog, Beck Energy won its case against the community of Munroe Falls over the city's ordinances that conflicted with state law, which says that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has full authority over permitting for oil and gas drilling.  While the ruling by the Ohio Supreme Court was anxiously awaited in hopes that it would offer the final word on home rule in the state of Ohio, the win for the industry in this case is not being viewed as a slam dunk that other efforts by Ohio communities to ban fracking on a local level will similarly be struck down by the courts. From Business Journal Daily: The Ohio Oil and Gas Association applauded the ruling in a statement issued Tuesday.  “We commend Ohio’s Supreme Court for its decision in Morrison V. Beck Energy today, which upholds state law concerning local government control over oil and gas activities,” Shawn Bennett, executive vice president of OOGA, said. “The court’s ruling affirmed that municipa

8 Utica and Marcellus Drillers Included on "Oil Company Death List"

Oil Company Death List: 19 Oil & Gas Stocks that Will Die Soon from Marcellus Drilling News Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

With Home Rule Case Won, Beck Energy May Pass on Drilling Well at Center of Dispute

From Columbus Business First: Now that the case is over, the company at the center of a widely watched dispute over state versus local drilling regulation might not even go ahead with the well in question.  In 2011, Beck Energy Corp. was prepared to drill a natural gas well on leased residential land in Munroe Falls. The city near Akron sued, saying the well violated local zoning ordinances, leading to court fights that went up to the Ohio Supreme Court. So, victory in hand, the Ravenna-based company can start drilling, right?  "It needs to first of all determine if it makes economic sense to drill those wells," said  John Keller , the Vorys Sater Seymour and Pease LLP attorney who argued Beck's case in front of the court. "Prices have gone down since they first proposed this." Click here to read more. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

Chesapeake Energy Takes Legal Action Against Aubrey McClendon for Stealing Trade Secrets

From Forbes : Today Chesapeake Energy CHK -1.06% sued American  Energy Partners, the new company created by its embattled former CEO Aubrey McClendon . The complaint, filed in Oklahoma County District Court, alleges that in his waning days as CEO of Chesapeake, McClendon squirreled away massive amounts of data, containing “highly sensitive trade secrets.” After his departure from Chesapeake, in April 2013, McClendon set up his new company, American Energy Partners, and leveraged that data to make a series of deals to snap up more than 100,000 acres across the Utica shale play. According to Chesapeake’s complaint, “these purchases involved the same acreage evaluated in the data stolen by McClendon.”  According to the complaint:  “McClendon committed this theft by requiring his assistant to print highly sensitive maps and prospect data, which he took with him as he left Chesapeake. He also included a blind carbon copy to his own private e-mail account on e-mails which containe

Rice Energy Provides Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2014 Operational Update and Reports 117% Increase in Proved Reserves to 1.3 Tcfe

Rice Energy Inc.  (NYSE:  RICE ) ("Rice Energy") today provided a 2014 operational update and announced year-end 2014 proved reserves. Highlights include: Averaged 398 MMcfe/d of net production for the fourth quarter of 2014, a 61% increase from third quarter 2014 Averaged 274 MMcfe/d for full-year 2014 pro forma (1)  net production, a 118% increase over pro forma 2013 daily production Adjusted realized natural gas price of  $3.46  per Mcf in the fourth quarter of 2014 Increased core acreage position to approximately 141,000 net acres as of year end 2014, consisting of 86,000 acres in southwestern  Pennsylvania  and 55,000 net acres in  Belmont County, Ohio Proved reserves increased to 1.3 Tcfe at  December 31, 2014 , a 117% increase from year-end 2013 pro forma figures Proved developed reserves increased to 644 Bcfe at  December 31, 2014 , a 159% increase from year-end 2013 pro forma figures Increased proved PV-10 (2)  value to  $1.8 billion , a 146% increase from y

Water Alert Reporting Network Introduced to Carroll County

Carrollton Ohio: Carroll Concerned Citizens (CCC) will host Elissa Yoder, Ohio Sierra Club Conservation Coordinator, at its March 5th meeting to introduce citizens to the Water Alert Reporting Network (WARN). The program and network are designed to empower volunteers to communicate ways to protect our waterways and stand as watchdogs against environmental harm. WARN helps Ohioans record and report suspected incidents of pollution or misconduct that could potentially harm our natural environment. The program’s goal is to ensure that state regulators are aware of incidents of concern and that they address the incidents in a timely and appropriate manner. Elissa Yoder, explains the need for public participation in the Water Alert Reporting Network. "Unfortunately, the Ohio EPA and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources do not have the capacity to monitor all of Ohio’s 199,000 miles of rivers and streams. Luckily, there are many folks willing to keep a watchful eye over our wat

Is Carroll County Still Leading the Way in the Utica Shale?

From FracTracker Alliance: Oil Production   Carroll falls short of the ROS on a total and per-day basis of oil production, although the 442-barrel difference in total oil production is likely not significant. Carroll wells are producing 74 barrels of oil per day (OPD) (±73 OPD) compared to 96 OPD (±122 OPD) for the rest of the state; however, well-to-well variability is so large as to make this type of comparison quite difficult at this juncture. Fifty-seven percent of OH’s 11,361,332 barrels of Utica oil has been produced outside of Carroll County to date. This level of production is equivalent to 16,231 rail tanker cars and roughly 00.18% of US oil production between 2011 and 2013 . THIS NUMBER OF RAIL TANKER CARS IS EQUIVALENT TO 6% OF THE US DOT-111 FLEET, OR 184 MILES WORTH OF TRAINS – ENOUGH TO STRETCH FROM COLUMBUS TO PITTSBURGH.   Natural Gas   The natural gas story is mixed, with Carroll’s 312 wells having produced 13,430 MCF more than the ROS wells. On a per-well b

Number of Utica Shale Wells in Production Continues to Increase on Latest Report

The latest weekly permitting update from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources shows that permitting continues despite the oil prices being down, and it also reveals that more and more Utica shale wells are going into production with each week that passes. 16 new permits were issued last week.  Nine of those wells are in Noble County's Marion Township.  Five permits were issued to Antero Resources for drilling in Monroe County.  Rounding out the report were Belmont and Guernsey counties, which each saw one new well permitted. The total number of permits issued for horizontal drilling in Ohio's Utica shale has now increased to 1,824.  The number of wells drilled increased by 14 to 1,370.  But perhaps most noteworthy about the latest report is the number of producing wells.  There was a big jump of 54 from last week's total of 762, with the total at the end of the week standing at 816.  The Utica rig count decreased by two, falling to 37. View the report below ( or

Obama Chooses to Veto Keystone XL Pipeline Bill With No Hesitation

By Brylie Oxley (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons From Reuters: President Barack Obama on Tuesday, as promised, swiftly vetoed a Republican bill approving the Keystone XL oil pipeline, leaving the long-debated project in limbo for another indefinite period.  The U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, after receiving Obama's veto message, immediately countered by announcing the Republican-led chamber would attempt to override it by March 3.  That is unlikely. Despite their majority, Republicans are four votes short of being able to overturn Obama's veto.  They have vowed to attach language approving the pipeline to a spending bill or other legislation later in the year that the president would find difficult to veto.  The TransCanada Corp pipeline would carry 830,000 barrels a day of mostly Canadian oil sands crude to Nebraska en route to refineries and ports along the U.S. Gulf. It has been pend

Study Finds Low Methane Emissions From Natural Gas Collection and Processing Facilities

From an API press release: The vast majority of natural gas collection and processing facilities have methane leak rates of less than 1 percent, according to a major field study led by Colorado State University that examined 114 gathering facilities and 16 processing plants across 13 states.  “The industry has every incentive to reduce emissions and sell more natural gas to consumers,” said API Senior Director of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Howard Feldman. “We’re making remarkable progress reducing emissions, and this progress will continue as operators detect and seal leaks – including leaks from the few high emitting sites identified in the study. Burdensome new regulations would only interfere with our progress reducing emissions and jeopardize production of the clean-burning natural gas that has helped drive U.S. carbon emissions to near 20-year lows.”  Of 130 facilities the study examined, 101 had methane loss rates below 1 percent, according to the study. Methane

Will Latest Rail Car Accident Prompt Obama to Reconsider Keystone XL Veto?

By Brylie Oxley (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons From Forbes: When some rail cars carrying oil went astray this week, witnesses saw huge fire balls — mushroom clouds eerily similar to those of atomic blasts. That mammoth explosion is now being felt beyond the West Virginia borders where it occurred and among those who are asking about the safest way to move oil.  The key question here is whether it is safer and more efficient to transport such hazardous liquids by rail, barge, truck or pipeline within the United States. And by extension, the bigger question is whether this latest rail accident will push President Obama to Okay the Keystone XL Pipeline — a project that has just as much symbolic significance as it does practical implications.  That’s because the thick and gooey Canadian tar sands are still getting piped east within Canada before they are placed into rail cars and sent to US refineries along the Gul

Debate Underway About What Will Happen to Oil Prices in Immediate Future

From Forbes : Oil bulls and bears need to stop talking their books and get real. Crude isn’t going back above $100 a barrel – at least not anytime soon. Nor is it falling to $20.  How can I be so sure? A confluence of political, economic, and, most importantly, technological changes are having a major impact on the way we produce and consume oil, making it both cheaper and more abundant. Barring some major international conflict, oil prices will most likely be range bound for quite a while, with a floor of somewhere around $40 a barrel (where we have seen massive rig count and CAPEX reductions) and a top around $80 a barrel, above which production really ramps up.  The sharp drop in oil prices last year managed to catch pretty much the entire market off guard. West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) has fallen from a high of over $100 a barrel in June to a low in the mid-$40’s last month. But the recent rebound in oil prices, which sent WTI to as high as $58 a barrel, has oil bulls

EIA Releases Latest Drilling Productivity Report

EIA Drilling Productivity Report - February 2015 from Marcellus Drilling News Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

Lawsuit Filed Against Chesapeake for Violating Racketeering Laws

  by    steakpinball Indik & McNamara, P.C. Announces Antitrust and RICO Lawsuit Against Chesapeake Energy and Williams Partners By Landowners in Bradford County, Pennsylvania Pennsylvania landowners claim they have been systematically underpaid royalties owed to them in connection with natural gas produced from the Marcellus Shale as a result of the wrongful deduction of impermissible post-production costs, which are arbitrary, excessive and unreasonable in amount due to anticompetitive conduct involving gas gathering pipelines. Philadelphia, PA - February 19, 2015. More than 90 landowners and other owners of royalty interests in natural gas produced in Bradford County, Pennsylvania have filed a lawsuit asserting that Chesapeake Energy Corporation and Williams Partners, LP, formerly known as Access Midstream Partners, L.P., have conspired to restrain trade in the market for gas gathering services in and around Bradford County, in violation of federal antitrust laws.

Looking at the Past, Present, and Future of the Utica Shale

From the Youngstown Vindicator: If you are looking for the Valley’s shale gas boom – look elsewhere.  Experts say geology and better business sent oil and gas companies to southern parts of the state.  “They will eventually come back up here,” said Professor Jeffrey Dick, chairman of the department of geologic and environment sciences at Youngstown State University.  “You just have to be patient.”  THE BEGINNING  In 2010, the Valley saw landmen arrive and offer landowners money to lease their property for oil and gas exploration.  “There was sort of a gold rush mentality in 2009 and 2010 and a lot of it was the image portrayed by the companies,” said Atty. Alan D. Wenger, chairman of the oil and gas group for Harrington, Hoppe and Mitchell. “Our clientele understood that this is not a sure thing and they should protect themselves.”  Wenger and others represented several landowners propositioned by landmen.  “We literally had hundreds of landmen flooding in and going

18 New Utica Shale Permits Issued Last Week; Producing Wells Increase by 22

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources released the latest weekly permitting update for the Utica shale, and activity saw an uptick from the previous week. 18 new permits were issued last week.  15 of those were divided evenly across three of the most active counties in the play: Carroll, Harrison, and Monroe counties each saw five new permits.  All 10 of the permits in Carroll and Harrison were issued to Chesapeake, while CNX obtained the five in Monroe.  Of the remaining three permits, two were issued to Gulfport for wells in Belmont County and one to Hilcorp in Columbiana County. With this latest round of permitting there are now over 1,800 permits issued for horizontal drilling in Ohio's Utica shale - 1,814, to be exact.  The number of wells drilled increased to 1,356, and the number of producing wells rose from 740 on the last report to 762 this week.  The Utica rig count also climbed by one to 39. Here is the report: Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter!

Links of the Day for 02/18/15: More Dormant Mineral Act Legal Wrangling, Pipeline Projects, and More

Shale Energy Law Blog:   Ohio Supreme Court Schedules Oral Argument in Dormant Mineral Act Cases Gas & Oil:   350 Temporary Jobs Will Work From Former Modern Builders Supply in Cambridge Marathon:   Cornerstone Pipeline & Utica Build-Out Projects Binding Open Season ShaleOhio:   American Energy Corp. Requests Disclosure of Leases in Trade-Name Dispute with American Energy Partners Gas & Oil:   Gas Compressor Manufacturer Chooses Heath Site for New Operations U.S. Geological Service:   Historical Hydraulic Fracturing Trends and Data Unveiled in New USGS Publications Gas & Oil:   Guernsey Energy Coalition Addresses Safety, Emergency Response WFMJ News:   Columbiana County Residents Learn About Pipeline Proposal in Hanoverton Powersource:   Managers Bunk Down at U.S. Refineries as Strike Enters Third Week Shale Play:   Even More Advanced Gas, Oil Technologies Ahead ShaleEnergy Law Blog:   Ohio Court of Appeals Holds Assignment of Shallow Rights Does N

Layoffs Now Could Bring Headaches Later for Drillers and Suppliers

From CNBC: The typical cycle of cutbacks has already begun, said Gladney B. Darroh, president and CEO of Houston-based Piper-Morgan Associates Personnel.  Oilfield services companies have announced layoffs of thousands of workers in recent weeks. Those businesses are first to cut because they are dependent on contracts with exploration and production companies, many of which are scaling back operations and can no longer tap the high-yield debt that fueled their growth.  The 'great crew change' E&P companies have begun cutting capital budgets, and will look to trim their workforce first by offering early retirement packages, Darroh told CNBC. If they cannot make the cuts they need to balance the books through enhanced exit offers, forced retirements will follow, he said.  "If (oil) prices stay in this range of $45 to $55 a barrel, if that persists in the next six months, we'll see companies taking more dramatic steps to rationalize their workforce in lig

Ohio Supreme Court Rules That Home Rule Drilling Ban Violates State Law

by    homesower   For months both anti-drilling and pro-drilling groups have eagerly awaited the Ohio Supreme Court's ruling in a landmark case regarding local municipalities' right to restrict oil and gas drilling where it has been permitted by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.  Yesterday the court ruled in favor of drillers in the battle between Munroe Falls and Beck Energy, by a 4-3 margin.     From But in her majority opinion, Justice Judith French wrote that the Munroe Falls regulations, which were enacted between 1980 and 1995, clashed with a 2004 law enacted by the General Assembly that provided for general statewide regulation of oil and gas drilling.  "This is a classic licensing conflict under our home-rule precedent," French wrote in her opinion. "We have consistently held that a municipal-licensing ordinance conflicts with a state-licensing scheme if the local ordinance restricts an activity which a state license per

Bill Approving the Keystone XL Pipeline Heads to Obama, Where It Will Likely Be Vetoed

From CNN: President Barack Obama will have 10 days to issue a veto on a bill authorizing construction of the Keystone XL pipeline once it hits his desk, now that the House has passed a final version, 270-152.  Twenty-nine Democrats voted with Republicans on Wednesday to pass the measure, which Obama has repeatedly said he will veto. He believes the decision to build the pipeline should rest with the executive branch. Michigan GOP Rep. Justin Amash was the only Republican to vote against the legislation.  Neither the House nor the Senate passed the proposal by a wide enough margin to override a presidential veto.  Earlier in the day, House Speaker John Boehner mocked Obama's promised veto on the bill, saying the President is "standing with a bunch of left-fringe extremists and anarchists." Read the entire article by clicking here.  Photo: By chesapeakeclimate (Bill McKibben) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Comm