Showing posts from May, 2016

Ohio Rep. Jack Cera Introduces Severance Tax Bill

From The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register: Air pollution from compressor stations, tractor-trailers hauling pipe on roads and bridges, and frackers sucking water from local creeks are examples of how East Ohio carries the burden for the entire state to prosper from the Marcellus and Utica shale boom.  "Eastern Ohio is disproportionately impacted by the increase in oil and gas drilling activity, so it is only fair to direct a portion of the severance tax back to the communities whose roads and bridges are deteriorating under the weight of increased truck traffic," Ohio Rep. Jack Cera, D-Bellaire, said. "I can't stand by while the state continues to neglect our Appalachian communities."  Cera said the state should generate more than $30 million this year from its relatively modest oil and natural gas severance tax. Ohio taxes producers at 3 cents per 1,000 cubic-foot unit of natural gas and 20 cents for a barrel of oil. By comparison, West Virginia appli

Volume of Injection Waste in Ohio in 2015 Higher Than Previously Reported

From the Akron Beacon Journal: Ohio is continuing to set an all-time record for liquid drilling wastes being injected into underground rock formations: The 2015 injection total keeps growing.  That’s because additional fees are being paid in 2016 by waste haulers to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Oil and Gas Resource Management.  That 2015 volume was reported as 28.8 million 42-gallon barrels in March. Now it is up to 31.4 million barrels, as of May 20.  That’s enough to fill nearly 2,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools with the salty wastes from shale drilling.  That means that Ohio’s injection volume in 2015 grew by nearly 42.8 percent from 2014. The earlier reported percent was 27.2 percent.  In 2014, 22.0 million barrels were disposed of in Ohio’s injection wells. That total was 16.3 million barrels in 2013. Click here to read more. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

Oil Climbs over $50: Can Investors Bank on a Recovery?

Source: Tracy Salcedo of The Energy Report  (5/26/16) The price of a barrel of oil has almost doubled from its low of $28 at the start of the year, prompting speculation that a recovery is underway, which may result in the revival of companies in the exploration, production and services sectors that have foundered since prices collapsed in 2015. According to news reports published today (Thursday, May 26), the pop above $50/bbl can be attributed to a drop in supply. The U.S. Energy Information Administration's "Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending May 20, 2016" notes that "U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 4.2 million barrels from the previous week." Since breaking the mark the price has sunk below the $50 level, but hovers in the vicinity, as it has for the past few weeks. Reuters reports neither Brent nor

Keep-It-In-The-Ground Asks for Public Hearing after Forcing Previous Hearing to End Early

by Jackie Stewart, Energy in Depth Ohio groups with  ties to the Keep-It-In-The-Ground  movement recently  called  on the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to hold more public hearings and extend the time period for public comment in response to BLM’s decision to move forward with leasing in the Wayne National Forest (WNF). This could not be more ironic considering that these same groups were  previously  so disruptive at the last public hearing that BLM was forced to  shut the meeting down  early, negating the entire purpose for public input, and hijacking others from having the opportunity to engage. Activists throw paper airplanes at BLM representatives during a public meeting earlier this year resulting in the meeting being shut down early. Why follow the rules when protesting gets the media’s attention? After hosting not one, not two,  but three public hearings , and extending the formal public comment period, the BLM recently released its  draft Environmental Asses

Valourec Posts $326 Million First Quarter Loss

From Business Journal Daily: Hit hard by the collapse of the global oil and gas market, pipe and tube manufacturer Vallourec posted a net loss of $326 million during the first quarter of 2016, the company said Tuesday.  Vallourec, which operates Vallourec Star in Youngstown, said its revenues fell 36.2% to $771.9 million, brought on by what the company said were record low volumes.  The company manufactures oil country tubular goods, or OCTG, pipe for mostly the oil and gas industry. Drilling activity and rig counts are substantially down since October 2014, when commodity prices began to tumble.  Oil companies have since cut spending and capital investment on their drilling programs, which has put additional pressure on suppliers such as Vallourec. Read more by clicking here. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

05/24/16 Links of the Day: More Bankruptcies, Ohio Court Battles Continue, and More

Youngstown Vindicator:   Natural Gas-Fueled Power Plant in Lordstown Will Be Showpiece   -    "The state-of-the-art natural gas-fueled power plant that’s moving forward in Lordstown isn’t just a significant chapter in the Mahoning Valley’s emerging comeback story. It’s also a powerful symbol of the future of..." Press release:   Stone Energy Corporation Announces NYSE Notice of Non-Compliance   -    "Stone Energy Corporation (NYSE: SGY) today announced the receipt of formal notice of non-compliance with the New York Stock Exchange ("NYSE") market capitalization listing standard. On May 17, 2016, we were notified by the NYSEthat our average global market capitalization has been less than $50 million over a consecutive..." Press release:   Halcón Reaches Agreement in Principal with Stakeholders Regarding a Comprehensive Balance Sheet Restructuring   -    "Halcón Resources Corporation (NYSE:HK) ("Halcón" or the "Company") today

American Energy Partners Lays Off Workers, Announces Plans to Shut Down

From News OK: American Energy Partners executives on Wednesday began taking steps to close the business, the company's leadership team confirmed.  Nearly half the Oklahoma City company's 100 employees were laid off Wednesday, and the remaining employees have begun closing the company through a process expected to take two to four months, according to a source knowledgeable of the situation.  American Energy Partners' actions Wednesday follow a series of bankruptcies and layoffs in the oil and natural gas industry as nearly two years of low prices have reduced revenues and led to budget cuts throughout the oil patch.  American Energy Partners and Aubrey McClendon in November 2015 were involved in an attempt to raise up to $2 billion, but scrapped the effort after just $11.2 million was raised. Read more by clicking here. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

No New Permits for Utica Shale Last Week

Permitting in Ohio's Utica shale once again came to a standstill last week, with no new permits listed on the Ohio Department of Natural Resources weekly report for the second time in the last four weeks.  The Utica rig count fell from 12 to 11.  The cumulative total of permits issued now stands at 2,175, with 1,743 wells drilled and 1,320 now producing. View the report below or download it by clicking here. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

New Report: Shale Development Boosting Local Government Revenues

by Randy Hildreth, Energy in Depth Researchers at Duke University are out  with a new study  finding that shale development has been boosting public revenue for local governments across the country. As a news release announcing  the report  puts it: “The recent surge in oil and natural gas development has been beneficial for most local governments in the United States, according to new findings by two Duke University researchers.” The researchers spoke with “more than 200 local government officials in 61 counties and 78 municipalities” where shale development has been taking place. An example of their findings can be seen in a case study on  Colorado’s Piceance Basin  released alongside the report that shows dramatic increases in economic activity and public revenue in shale regions. In particular, researchers show how the City of Rifle on Colorado’s Western Slope saw an amazing spike in public revenue and economic activity as shale development in the area increased. From  the

Appalachian Basin Has Shifted from Big-Time Natural Gas User to Big-Time Producer

From the Akron Beacon Journal: In 2010, the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania and West Virginia was dubbed the Beast in the East by analysts because of its impressive natural gas treasure.  In 2013, Ohio’s neighboring Utica Shale was described as Son of the Beast in the East by analysts because of its growing natural gas potential.  The growth of drilling in the Marcellus-Utica shales and the resulting natural gas boom are changing the American energy picture, even though shale drilling is slowing down across the United States due to low commodity prices.  Since 2012, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia have accounted for 85 percent of U.S. shale gas growth, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Shale gas today represents two thirds of U.S. natural gas production, the agency reported recently. Click here to continue reading this. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

Drillers Pondering the Proper Timing and Pace for the Return of Rigs

From Powersource: After several quarters of talking about budget cuts and laying down drilling rigs, antsy oil and gas analysts are looking forward to some excitement. How quickly can companies ramp up in response to better commodity prices, they wonder.  The question, asked at numerous company earnings calls over the past several weeks, belies several assumptions: that prices are headed for a meaningful recovery and that the natural response to that recovery is to ramp up quickly.  It’s one of the most popular questions thrown at David Khani, CFO at Consol Energy Inc., and one he approaches with caution.  “That commodity curve could go crazy again if everybody starts drilling again,” Mr. Khani said. “You have to be careful about how fast you would ramp up.”  Cecil-based Consol, which laid down all of its rigs last year, looks at commodity prices over a three-year horizon, he said.  “You have to feel good about the sustainability of that curve,” Mr. Khani said, “or you have

Cramer: Goldman Sachs "Should Be Taken to Task" For Bad Calls on Oil

From TheStreet: Longtime oil price bear Goldman Sachs ( GS ) adjusted its tune Monday calling for a near-term $50 target for the commodity due to a sooner-than-expected deficit to the global supply market. "The oil market has gone from nearing storage saturation to being in deficit much earlier than we expected," Goldman said, adding that it now anticipates oil will reach $60 per barrel by the end of 2017. But even though Goldman's newly "measured" outlook is in line with his longstanding estimate, TheStreet's founder Jim Cramer said Monday that the bank has been dead wrong about oil all year. "I would point out that Goldman went too wild high, and then they went too wild low, and they should be taken to task for that because they're highly paid professionals who made way-too-extreme calls on both sides," he said. "They were very responsible for a big panic in the market when they said oil was going to go to $20. A lot of individual in

EIA: Utica Shale Should See Increased Production in May 2016 Compared to May 2015

From the Youngstown Vindicator: Both natural-gas and oil production in the Utica Shale Play is expected to increase in May 2016 over May 2015, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s drilling productivity report.  The report uses recent drilling data through March, estimates of drilling productivity and estimated changes in production from current oil and natural-gas wells to provide estimates in oil and natural-gas production in seven plays.  This month, the Utica, which covers Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York, is expected to produce more than 3 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day. In May 2015, however, production was right at 3 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day.  Oil production was below 400,000 barrels a day in May 2015 and is expected to be below 400,000 in May 2016. Read more by clicking here.  Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

Forbes Looks at Four Fallacies in the Fracktivist Tool Box

From Forbes contributor Alex Epstein: To make intelligent decisions about the future of energy, we need to think big-picture—to look carefully at the benefits and costs to human life of every course of action. Unfortunately, in today’s energy debate we are taught, with politically incorrect forms of energy such as fossil fuels, to only look at the negative picture—often highly exaggerated or taken out of context.  There are at least four common fallacies used to discourage big-picture thinking and breed opposition to fossil fuels. These are things to be on the lookout for when you follow the cultural debate; they are everywhere, and all four are used to attack what might be the most important technology of our generation: shale energy aka “fracking.”  1. The Abuse-Use Fallacy   The largest fossil fuel controversy today, besides the broader climate change issue, is fracking—shorthand for hydraulic fracturing—one of several key technologies for getting oil and gas out of dense sh

PA Town Legalizes Civil Disobedience to Fight Injection Well

From YES! Magazine: A tiny community sitting on a 27-square-mile piece of Western Pennsylvania wanted to send a big message to the energy company planning to deposit toxic fracking wastewater under its neighborhoods. And its 700 residents wanted it to be perfectly legal for them to loudly object.  Grant Township had seen what happens when people nationwide take to the streets to protest bullying corporations: Arrests. Lots of them.  So Grant Township planned ahead. Two weeks ago, it passed a law that protects its residents from arrest if they protest Pennsylvania General Energy Company’s (PGE) creation of an injection well.  Residents believe this law is the first in the United States to legalize nonviolent civil disobedience against toxic wastewater injection wells. Township Supervisor Stacy Long said. “We’re doing it to safeguard the residents and protect as many people as possible,” she said. Read the whole article by clicking here. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter

Utica Shale Goes Over 1,300 Wells Producing in Ohio

8 new permits were issued for horizontal drilling in the Utica shale by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources last week.  All of the permits were for wells in Belmont County.  There are now 2,176 wells permitted, 1,736 drilled, and 1,312 producing.  The rig count is 12. See the weekly report below or download it by clicking here. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

05/13/16 Links of the Day: NEXUS Pipeline Facing More Hurdles, Belmont County Cracker Plant on Track, and More

Forbes:   The 15 Biggest Oil Bankruptcies (So Far)   -    "The pace of oil patch bankruptcies is picking up. According to a new count from Houston law firm Haynes & Boone, April saw 11 bankruptcy filings, the most of any month in the past two years. The headline failures that month were Ultra Petroleum UPL +% , which buckled under $3.9 billion..." Press release:   Rex Energy Reports First Quarter Operational and Financial Results   -    "Operating revenues from continuing operations for the three months ended March 31, 2016 were $30.5 million, which represents a decrease of 44% as compared to the same period in 2015. Commodity revenues, including settlements from derivatives, were $43.5 million, a decrease of 33% as compared to the same period in 2015. Commodity revenues from oil and..." Press release:   EV Energy Partners Announces First Quarter 2016 Results   -    "Adjusted EBITDAX for the first quarter of 2016 was $20.2 million, a 62 percent decre

More Ties to Activists, New Questions Over Publication Status in UC Groundwater Fracking Study

by Jackie Stewart, Energy in Depth The  National Association of Royalty Owners recently called upon the University of Cincinnati (UC) to publish its recent  study  on fracking and groundwater properly, in a peer-reviewed public journal, something the authors have confirmed is underway. While this news may appear promising, the reality is the study’s data, which showed “ no evidence for natural gas contamination”  and was paid for by activists and taxpayers, was in fact concluded almost a year ago.  EID recently discovered that another UC taxpayer funded fracking study only took three months to publish!  So why then is this latest study still unpublished? One possibility is that some of the funders—those with ties to the anti-fracking movement who initially stalled the release of the results—have asked for more time to prepare to dispute the data. While this is speculation, it is a fact that anti-fracking groups are trying to discredit the data to achieve their “Keep It in the Gr