Showing posts from August, 2015

Environmental Groups Lead Charge for New EPA Study of Fracking's Effects on Water

From Alternet: The public comment period for the  highly controversial U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) fracking study ended on August 28. Food & Water Watch ,  Environmental Action , Breast Cancer Action and other advocacy groups delivered nearly 100,000 comments from Americans asking the U.S. EPA to redo their study with a higher level of scrutiny and oversight.  The study produced significant controversy due to the discrepancy in what the EPA found in its report and what the agency’s news release title said. The study stated that “we did not find evidence” of “widespread, systemic impacts to drinking water resources,” but the title of the EPA’s news release said, “Assessment shows hydraulic fracturing activities have not led to widespread, systemic impacts to drinking water resources”—a subtle but significant difference that led to most news coverage having headlines like this one in Forbes , “EPA Fracking Study: Drilling Wins.”  In addition to the misleadin

City of Youngstown Asks Ohio Supreme Court to Approve Vote on Anti-Drilling Charter

From WFMJ: The City of Youngstown is asking the Ohio Supreme Court let voters in the city decide if they want to ban fracking inside city limits.  Law Director Martin Hume filed a request with the high court seeking an expedited order that would compel the Mahoning County Board of Elections and Ohio Secretary of State John Husted to place the proposed charter amendment commonly known as the Community Bill of Rights on the November 3, 2015 ballot in Youngstown.  Earlier this month, Youngstown City Council unanimously passed an ordinance directing that the proposed charter amendment be forwarded to the Mahoning County Board of Elections to be placed on the ballot.  Two days later, the Mahoning County Board of Elections voted 4-0 to deny placing the proposed charter amendment on the ballot, in spite of the fact that the Mahoning County Prosecutor’s office said that the Board had a mandatory duty to place the proposed charter amendment on the ballot. This article can be read in it

Majority of Economists Say $40 Oil Won't Affect Federal Reserve Interest-Rate Plans

From Bloomberg Business: The price of oil has tumbled 58 percent this year to reach a six-year low earlier this week. Even if prices stay at these levels, chances are they won't impact the Federal Reserve's interest-rate plans.    Seventy percent of economists in a Bloomberg News survey said crude oil prices around $40 per barrel for the next three months would have no impact on the Fed. Of the 30 percent that said it would influence the central bank, the respondents were evenly split between whether it would cause a delay in the first interest-rate increase or slow the hiking path. The fed funds rate has been at a range of 0-0.25% since the end of 2008 and officials meet September 16-17 to decide whether an interest rate increase is still warranted. New York Fed President William Dudley said Wednesday that the case for raising rates in September is less compelling after recent market volatility. Click here to continue reading this article.  Connect with us on Facebook a

NCPA VP Jacki Pick: "Fracking is Our Clean Power Plan"

From Forbes: As environmental groups gather to strategize maximum mileage from the president’s “Clean Power Plan,” they would do well to remember what they might regard as the greatest environmental triumph of this century: The U.S. already leads the world in carbon emissions reduction, with emissions down 26% since the shale boom hits its stride in 2007. Why? Because of the use of natural gas, a fossil fuel, now produced in historic volumes made possible through fracking, or hydraulic fracturing.      Fracked natural gas has been key to reducing U.S. carbon emissions to their lowest levels since 1988, the U.S. Department of Energy recently announced.  Over the same 27 year time-frame, figures from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis show the U.S. economy nearly doubled, growing about 50% when gross domestic product is adjusted for inflation.   With the shale boom, lower emissions and economic growth need not be at odds Our economic growth was largely the result of che

Op-Ed: Oil and Gas Production Continues to Prove Doomsayers Wrong

From The Orange County Register: “The United States of America cannot afford to bet our long-term prosperity, our long-term security on a resource that will eventually run out, and even before it runs out will get more expensive to extract from the ground.”   – Barack Obama, 2011.   A century and a half ago, in August 1859, on the eve of the Civil War, Col. Edwin Laurentine Drake completed the first commercial oil well in the U.S., at Oil Creek just outside of Titusville, Pa. Over the next 155 years, oil and gas companies have drilled tens of billions of barrels of oil from the ground, from California to New York and nearly everywhere in between.   Over that time period, one thing has been constant: Doomsayers and declinists have predicted that America would soon drill its last barrel of oil. Famously, in the 1920s, the U.S. Department of Interior projected less than a few decades’ worth of recoverable oil remained in the U.S. ‎ Jimmy Carter declared in 1980 that, by 2000, we’d

Breaking Down the 2nd Quarter 2015 Utica Shale Production Data

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has now released the production data from the Utica shale for the second quarter of 2015.  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 also have the top 10 oil and gas wells detailed below.  So let's dive in to the numbers. QUARTER # OF WELLS/# WITH DATA OIL GAS DAYS OIL/DAY OIL/WELL GAS/DAY GAS/WELL 2014-1 476/418 1,950,979 67,333,945 28,019 70 4,667 2,403 161,086 2014-2 562/504 2,467,283 88,673,741 37,922 65 4,895 2,338 175,940 2014-3 717/674 3,013,667 132,017,386 50,858 59 4,471 2,596 195,871 2014-4 828/779 3,558,836 164,815,008 62,527 57 4,568 2,636 211,573 2015-1 926/877 4,401,687 183,585,255 69,745 63 5,019 2,632 209,333 2015-2 1020/978 5,578,255 221,860,169 80,724 69 5,704 2,748 226,851 One notable thing right off of the bat is that the report show

ODNR Releases 2nd Quarter 2015 Utica Shale Production Figures

A press release from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources: During the second quarter of 2015, Ohio’s horizontal shale wells produced 5,578,255 barrels of oil (bbls) and 221,860,169 Mcf (221 billion cubic feet) of natural gas, according to figures released today by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). These numbers break all previous production reporting records for the last 100 years. Production continues to rise as oil increased by more than 3.1 million barrels and gas by more than 133 billion cubic feet compared to the second quarter of 2014. Totals (1 st  & 2 nd  QTR)   2014        2015      Increase year to year Barrels of oil:            4,423,381     10,010,559             126% Mcf of gas:            156,132,032     405,445,420           160%   These figures represent a 126 percent increase in oil production compared to the first half of last year while natural gas production rose 160 percent. For further comparison, only 11 million barrels of oil and 450

Board of Elections Votes Not to Send Youngstown Anti-Drilling Charter to Ballot for a Fifth Time

From the Youngstown Vindicator: With the Mahoning County Board of Elections unanimously voting to keep a Youngstown anti-fracking charter amendment proposal off the Nov. 3 ballot, backers of the initiative are unsure of their next step.  “There could be a challenge, but I don’t know yet,” said Susie Beiersdorfer, a member of FrackFree Mahoning Valley, the group that supported this proposal and four other similar anti-fracking initiatives. “This is uncharted territory.”  During a Wednesday special meeting, the board voted 4-0 not to certify the proposal to the ballot.  Board members said they largely based their decision on a Feb. 17 decision by the Ohio Supreme Court. That decision says the state constitution’s home-rule amendment doesn’t grant local governments the power to regulate oil and gas operations in their limits, and that Ohio law gives the state government – specifically the Department of Natural Resources – the exclusive authority to regulate oil and gas wells. Cli

08/27/15 Links of the Day: Oil Prices Plunging, Drillers Penalized for Methane Migration, Natural Gas Under Attack, and More

NGI:   Appalachian Producers Considering More Pennsylvania Utica as Budget Season Nears   -    "Following last year's rush to test the boundaries of the Utica Shale outside Ohio, some producers are reevaluating their prospects in the Appalachian Basin to determine how best to spend capital after consistent success from the formation in West Virginia and Southwest Pennsylvania..." Gas & Oil:   The Landman Legacy   -    "Bryan Hanks, president and owner of Beta Land Services, knows a thing or two about building relationships with clients, he has been a certified professional landman for 34 years. Hanks was introduced at the recent Buckeye STEPS (Service, Transmission, Exploration, Production Safety Network) meeting at Zane State College by Joe Greco, president of..."   Dems Change Tune on Exporting Crude as Oil Plunges   -    "With oil futures falling below $40 per barrel, it's getting harder to find reasons to support the long-s

Appeals Court Rules That Ohio Landowners Can't Cancel Lease Due to Nonpayment of Royalties

Tuscarawas County landowners Myron and Nikki Armstrong probably feel like it just makes sense that the oil and gas lease on their property should no longer remain in place. After all, after purchasing their property in 2003 with an existing lease in place, their land was pooled into a drilling unit and a well was drilled.  Despite that well being drilled, the family has not received a single royalty check.  One would imagine, perhaps, that failure to pay royalties on a well would be very valid grounds to sue for cancellation of a lease. Two Ohio courts have now ruled that it is not. First, Armstrongs were defeated in Tuscarawas County Court, and now the Fifth Appellate District has ruled on appeal that because the lease does not specifically state that the lease can be cancelled if the company does not pay the royalties that the lease says it will pay, the lease is still valid. What does this potentially mean for Ohio landowners?   Jim Willis of Marcellus Drilling News raises

Marathon's Deal with MarkWest Gets Governmental Green Light

A press release from Marathon subsidiary MPLX: FINDLAY, Ohio, and DENVER, Aug. 25, 2015 - MPLX LP (NYSE: MPLX) and MarkWest Energy Partners, L.P. (NYSE: MWE) today announced that they have received notification of early termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended, in connection with the proposed merger whereby MarkWest would become a wholly-owned subsidiary of MPLX, thereby satisfying one of the conditions to closing of the transaction. The transaction remains subject to approval by MarkWest unitholders and to other customary closing conditions, and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2015. # # # About MPLX LP MPLX is a fee-based, growth-oriented master limited partnership formed in 2012 by Marathon Petroleum Corporation to own, operate, develop and acquire pipelines and other midstream assets related to the transportation and storage of crude oil, refined products and other hydrocarbon-based products. H

Ascent Resources, Formerly Part of American Energy Partners, Receives Lowest Credit Rating from Moody's

For Aubrey McClendon and his current company, the bad news keeps on coming.  Ascent Resources, which recently broke off from parent company American Energy Partners, does not have a very positive financial outlook, according to Moody's Investors Service. From Moody's: Moody's Investors Service, ("Moody's") downgraded Ascent Resources -- Marcellus, LLC's (ARM) Corporate Family Rating (CFR) to Caa2 from B2, Probability of Default Rating (PDR) to Caa2-PD from B2-PD, Senior Secured First Lien rating to Caa1 from Ba3 and Senior Secured Second Lien rating to Caa3 from Caa1. Moody's also lowered the Speculative Grade Liquidity Rating to SGL-4 from SGL-3 to underscore weak liquidity. The rating outlook is negative.   "The downgrade reflects our view that ARM has an unsustainable capital structure and that it will struggle with weak liquidity and limited cash flow generation in a low commodity price environment," said John Thieroff, Moody's

12 New Permits Issued Last Week; Number of Producing Wells Climbs

The latest weekly permitting update from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has been released.  It was one of the more active permitting weeks seen recently, and some of the other figures on the report saw significant increases as well. 12 new permits were issued during the week ending August 22.  Harrison and Belmont counties were the most active spots, each seeing four new permits.  All four in Harrison County went to Chesapeake Exploration, while the four in Belmont were all issued to Rice Drilling.  Noble County saw three new permits, all issued to Antero Resources.  The lone remaining permit was issued to American Petroleum Partners for a well in Jefferson County. The relatively active week of new permitting pushes the cumulative total of permits issued to 1,997, making it somewhat likely that the Utica shale in Ohio will cross the 2,000 permit mark on the next report.  The number of wells drilled also increased by 16 to reach a new total of 1,586.  And a week after clim

Oil and Gas Engineering Merit Badge to Expand to Camp Muskingum Boy Scout Camp

A press release from the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program (OOGEEP): Boy Scouts recently attending a STEM camp at Camp Muskingum successfully completed an innovative oil and gas specific curriculum designed in partnership with the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program (OOGEEP) and the Muskingum Valley Boy Scout Council. Based on the success of this camp, and through funding provided by Ohio’s oil and gas producers, OOGEEP plans to offer a full oil and gas engineering merit badge at the camp in 2016. The merit badge is already in its third year at Camp Manatoc near Akron. The exciting program introduces scouts to the oil and gas industry through both classroom and field learning. The badge is designed to: showcase how engineering is crucial to Ohio’s oil and gas industry; explain how companies produce energy for Ohio from Ohio; allow scouts to put their engineering knowledge to work building models; give scouts a first hand looking at a working oil and gas well; and introd

Op-Ed: Fossil Fuels Are Essential, Not Evil

From Fuel Fix: The George C. Marshall Institute has recently released a study on fossil fuels and the economic well-being, . It describes why energy is an essential input to economic activity. Because fossil fuels are such a large part of the world’s energy supply, they play a dominant role in enabling people everywhere to enjoy a higher standard of living and greater personal freedom.  Abundant and affordable energy enables an economy to produce more and grow. If fossil fuels were made more scarce and less affordable, trade and markets would shrink. That would have with adverse effects on income and consumption. The study explains why abundant, inexpensive energy provides great advantages and is highly desirable and by implication why efforts to make fossil fuels more expensive and less available are detrimental to our economic well being.  The study acknowledges that the environment is not a free good.

Spectra Energy is One of the Companies in the Bidding for All of Williams Companies

From Reuters: Spectra Energy Corp ( SE.N ), an oil and natural gas pipeline company, is bidding for the whole of Williams Companies Inc ( WMB.N ), even though its market capitalization is about half that of Williams, people familiar with the matter said.  Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Williams decided to put itself on the auction block after it rejected an all-stock acquisition proposal from rival Energy Transfer Equity LP ( ETE.N ) in June. At the time the bid was worth $53.1 billion including the assumption of debt; it was contingent upon Williams' canceling its plans to acquire the portion of its pipeline subsidiary Williams Partners LP ( WPZ.N ) that it does not already own for $14 billion.  Houston-based Kinder Morgan Inc ( KMI.N ) is also interested in Williams, but would face potential antitrust issues if it proceeded with a bid, the people added. Williams collected an initial round from prospective bidders in late July according to the people. Click here to read more. Con

Intrexon Energy Partners and Dominion Enter Exclusive Agreement in Marcellus and Utica Basins to Commercialize Novel Method for Natural Gas Bioconversion to Valuable Isobutanol

A press release from Intrexon Corporation: Intrexon Corporation  (NYSE: XON), a leader in synthetic biology, today announced that  Intrexon Energy Partners  (IEP), and  Dominion Energy , a subsidiary of  Dominion Resources  (NYSE: D), have entered into an agreement to explore the potential for commercial-scale biological conversion of natural gas to isobutanol, a drop-in fuel with numerous advantages over other clean burning gasoline blendstocks.  Intrexon's  proprietary methanotroph bioconversion platform has the potential to transform the gas-to-liquids (GTL) industry through use of optimized microbial cell lines to convert natural gas into higher carbon compounds such as isobutanol and farnesene under ambient temperatures and pressures.  This novel approach avoids costly, resource intensive thermochemical GTL conversion methods, and offers a biofuel that does not utilize sugar or other plant-based feedstock, which are expensive carbon sources that compete with food crops fo