Showing posts from June, 2018

Permitting Continues to Creep Along in Utica Shale

New permits issued last week:   2   (Previous week:  0 )  +2 Total horizontal permits issued:  2839   (Previous week:  2837 )  +2 Total horizontal wells drilled:  2367  (Previous week:  2364 )  +3 Total horizontal wells producing:  1905  (Previous week:  1899 )  +6 Utica rig count:  19  (Previous week:  19 )   +-0 Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

Does Fracking Cause Obesity? Fat Chance, Despite Activist Researchers’ Claims

by Nicole Jacobs, Energy in Depth The  latest study  from activist research team Susan Nagel (Univ. of Missouri) and Chris Kassotis (Duke Univ.) attempts to connect fracking to obesity in people living in close proximity to shale development. The team – who has previously attempted to link shale development to  impaired immune systems ,  low sperm counts ,  ovarian follicle problems  and pre-cancerous  mammary gland lesions  – takes things to a whole new level of absurdity with its latest joint,  purporting that, “Exposure to fracking chemicals and wastewater promotes fat cell development, or adipogenesis, in living cells in a laboratory.” In other words, fracking fluids – more specifically, a 23-chemical concoction created by the team and samples of produced water taken from well sites in West Virginia and Colorado –  could  cause obesity in mice. But as the  News & Observer  recently  reported , “The study  does not assert that water in fracking zones is contaminate

Ohio Roads Continue to Take a Beating From Heavy Oil and Gas Truck Traffic

From the Times Leader: The oil and natural gas industry has been a boon to the Buckeye State, but local officials say the related heavy truck traffic is taking a toll on local roads. The situation is exacerbated when truck drivers unfamiliar with the area utilize the wrong roads, area leaders said.  Belmont Mayor Stan Sobel said this has been an issue in his village for the past six years.  “Some of the oil and gas trucks have damaged our roads. Some of the drivers, instead of making a turn on our roads normally, they go over the sidewalk and crush sewer systems. There have been a couple times where they have knocked down the poles that held our cable and our telephone services, and we were without service for three days because of that. There’s just been a whole host of things going on,” he said, adding that the problem in his community mainly occurs on Bridge Street and Main Street, with residents’ mailboxes taking damage as well.  “For us and many of the small villages, the

Job Seekers Finding Opportunities in the Oil and Gas Industry

From WTRF: On Thursday, dozens of residents had the chance to look for a good paying job in the fastest growing industry in our area.  It was all part of the Tri-State Natural Gas Job Fair.  The event was held at the JB. Martin Rec Center behind St. Clairsville High School.  People could meet with recruiters from Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio in the natural gas, oil and gas industries. Many people told 7News they were excited about the options. Click here to read the whole article, including a list of some of the jobs available. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

New Yale Study is the Latest to Find Shale Drilling Does Not Contaminate Water

From PNAS: Concern persists over the potential for unconventional oil and gas development to contaminate groundwater with methane and other chemicals. These concerns motivated our 2-year prospective study of groundwater quality within the Marcellus Shale. We installed eight multilevel monitoring wells within bedrock aquifers of a 25-km2 area targeted for shale gas development (SGD). Twenty-four isolated intervals within these wells were sampled monthly over 2 years and groundwater pressures were recorded before, during, and after seven shale gas wells were drilled, hydraulically fractured, and placed into production. Perturbations in groundwater pressures were detected at hilltop monitoring wells during drilling of nearby gas wells and during a gas well casing breach. In both instances, pressure changes were ephemeral (<24 hours) and no lasting impact on groundwater quality was observed. Overall, methane concentrations ([CH4]) ranged from detection limit to 70 mg/L, increased with

Cabot Begins Search for Oil and Gas in Ashland County

From the Ashland Times-Gazette: In a bid to find the next big source of oil and gas in Ohio, preparations for two exploratory wells are underway in southern Ashland County. Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. has permits from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to build two wells out of an anticipated five exploratory wells with Green and Mohican townships seeing a flurry of activity after the permits were approved. A rig is expected to be ready to drill within the next week at the Kamenik Well Pad located on top of a hill at 1082 Township Road 2375 in Green Township. The site has been under construction for about a month. Read the whole article by clicking here. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

Anti-Drillers Fight Against NEXUS Pipeline in Green Hits a Wall as Referendum is Kept Off Ballot

From The Suburbanite: An effort to place a referendum on the ballot regarding the NEXUS settlement won’t be moving forward.  During the June 11 council meeting, Green Interim Law Director William Chris said several legal counsels reviewed the document and found several insufficiencies.  The referendum effort came about following City Council approving a settlement with NEXUS on Feb. 7 by a 4-3 vote. The city received park land, $7.5 million and several other safety measures as a part of the settlement. Citizens for Responsible Green Government formed and circulated a petition to have the settlement decided by the voters on the ballot. The group collected more than 1,500 signatures and gave it to the city, which then turned it over to the Summit County Board of Elections.  The Board of Elections declined to address the validity of the petition and only focused on the validity of the individual signatures. Those signatures were found to be valid. The petitions were then returned

Ohio's Law on Forced Pooling is Upheld in Federal Court

From Vorys Energy & Environmental Law Blog : On June 13, 2018, a federal district court rejected a takings challenge to a unit order issued by the Ohio Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management under the state’s statutory unitization law, R.C. 1509.28 The court found that “the statutory unitization procedure set forth in R.C. § 1509.28 operates to protect the correlative rights of landowners….and it was passed as a valid exercise of Ohio’s police power.” See Kerns v. Chesapeake Exploration, LLC , N.D. Ohio No. 5:18 CV 389 (June 13, 2018). Although the constitutionality of statutory unitization or its analog, mandatory pooling, is well-settled nationwide, Kerns is the first decision to squarely consider Ohio’s unitization law. You can read the actual decision below. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

Gas Drillers Hurt by Rise in Oil Drilling

From the Wall Street Journal: Higher oil prices are helping many American shale drillers. But they are hurting companies that frack for natural gas.  As companies respond to rising oil prices by drilling more for it, they often unearth gas as a byproduct. That has further weighed on already low gas prices, pressuring shale frackers in regions that primarily produce gas.  The average share price for the five top companies focused on the oil-rich Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico are up more than 16% over the past year. Share prices for the top five producers focused on the Marcellus Shale in Appalachia, the country’s largest deposit of natural gas, are down more than 9%.  “It’s going to be tough for the Marcellus for a while,” said Brian Lidsky, managing director at oil-and-gas research firm PLS Inc. “There is just a tidal wave of gas coming out of the Permian.” Click here to read more. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

Some Companies Pay the Price for Hedging Oil at $55

From Reuters: Many top U.S. shale oil producers are missing out on the rally in oil prices to more than $70 a barrel - because they sold their oil through futures contracts at about $55 last year when that looked like a good deal. Now, it looks cheap.  Those hedged bets will hold down revenues and further frustrate Wall Street investors, who have been disappointed by slow returns from the booming Permian Basin in west Texas.  The top 25 shale producers will forego about $1.7 billion in combined revenues in the second quarter with oil prices at about $70, according to Denver-based consultancy PetroNerds. Many of those producers used hedges that guaranteed them between $55 and $58 a barrel. Some west Texas producers face a second profit-limiting dynamic: They are forced to cut prices because the region’s production is overwhelming its pipeline network, raising transportation costs. Read on by clicking here. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

PA Study Finds Water Quality May Be Improving in Areas with Heavy Shale Drilling

From Penn State University: A new study of groundwater in a rural Pennsylvania county shows only rare instances of possible gas contamination amid an overall trend of improving water quality despite heavy Marcellus Shale development.  By investigating data from gas companies, the state, and the U.S. Geological Survey, researchers saw possible contamination by natural gas near no more than seven out of 1,385 shale wells studied in heavily drilled Bradford County. The rest of the water chemistry data highlighted that groundwater had either improved or remained level from samples taken prior to the 1990s.  "The most interesting thing we discovered was the groundwater chemistry in one of the areas most heavily developed for shale gas – an area with 1400 new gas wells – does not appear to be getting worse with time, and may even be getting better," said Susan Brantley, director of Penn State's Earth and Environmental Systems Institute and distinguished professor of geosc

Utica Shale Permitting Goes Quiet Last Week

New permits issued last week:   0   (Previous week:  2 )  -2 Total horizontal permits issued:  2837   (Previous week:  2837 )  +-0 Total horizontal wells drilled:  2364  (Previous week:  2358 )  +6 Total horizontal wells producing:  1899  (Previous week:  1899 )  +-0 Utica rig count:  19  (Previous week:  19 )   +-0 Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

Belmont County Cracker Plant Moves Closer to Becoming a Reality

Promises of a date for a final decision from PTT Global Chemical on whether it will build a proposed ethane cracker plant in Belmont County have fallen by the wayside in the past, but as time passes it seems any new news that crops up about the plant continues to indicate that it is more likely to be built.  Now a couple of new articles add to that possibility, including a report that Bechtel has been awarded a contract for construction on the plant and another that says a grant has been provided to improve rail services in connection with the project. From : We Have Confirmation! PTTGC Selected Bechtel . It’s not a RUMOR ! I have heard from two individuals this week that confirms that Bechtel has been awarded the contract. The first person said that he heard from a CM at Bechtel they have been selected for the PTT project and are working through the contract currently.  The second person informed me that Bechtel was making big equipment orders that were no

Previous Concerns of Utica Gas Bottleneck Have Given Way to Concerns Over Too Much Capacity

From Platts: Natural gas pipeline takeaway capacity additions in the US Northeast production area have yet to spur the level of further output the market was expecting, making it difficult to fill the infrastructure during certain periods, according to S&P Global Platts Analytics.  The perspective, offered during the first day of the LDC Gas Forum Northeast conference in Boston, comes as industry leaders analyze Appalachian Basin supply, demand and pricing fundamentals heading into the next decade.  At issue is whether easing pipeline constraints are only temporary and the extent to which LNG export growth will encourage Marcellus and Utica shale producers to drill more.  "New production is not there to fill these projects, and this is only going to get worse," Luke Jackson, a Platts Analytics senior energy analyst, told attendees at the conference. "On the surface, you'd say the Northeast is evolving. I would argue, 'Not so fast.'" Click he

Company's Request to Change to Class I Injection Well Meets with Opposition

From The Columbus Dispatch: A company operating injection wells in Coshocton County has asked regulators to allow a change in its permitting to accept industrial and other nonhazardous waste fluids instead of just oilfield brine.  If Buckeye Brine is successful, it would mark the first time an Ohio Class II injection well was switched to a Class I.  Operators say they’ve been pumping oilfield fluids into rock formations deep underground for several years without incident, that the facility was built to exceed injection-well standards and that the permitting change would provide an environmentally friendly alternative for disposing of nonhazardous waste fluids.  “We’ve operated flawlessly for five years,” said Steve Mobley, company president. “We’re experienced at this business and we’re doing a good thing for the surface waters of the state and making industrial businesses better able to operate affordably.”  But a local environmental group opposes the move, citing continued

Analysts and Geologists Both See More Cracker Plants Coming to Region

From The Daily Jeff: A remarkable event, a “world changing event,” took place six months ago: Natural gas production in portions of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia — an area dubbed the “Shale Crescent” — totaled 831 billion cubic feet, said David Hill, a local petroleum geologist.  That exceeded the total production in Texas, which tallied to 703 billion cubic feet. This region had reclaimed the record.  “The last time that happened was about 100 years ago,” Hill said. “So, it’s no wonder that conventional wisdom thinks all of the natural gas is in the Gulf Coast region and that we’re kind of an afterthought up in the Northeast.  “We’re now bigger than Texas in natural gas production.”  So, why is that important? Why is it “world-changing?”  There are various reasons, but for the average citizen of Guernsey County and, indeed, the entire Shale Crescent region, it comes down to one word: Jobs.  That was the implication of Hill’s remarks when he spoke Thursday morning

EV Energy Partners Dubs Itself Harvest Oil & Gas Corp. as It Rises from Ashes of Bankruptcy

From a press release: EV Energy Partners, L.P. today announced that it has successfully completed its financial restructuring and has emerged from Chapter 11 as a new corporation under the name Harvest Oil & Gas Corp. (“Harvest” or the “Company”). Through the restructuring, Harvest has eliminated approximately $355 million of debt and accrued interest from its balance sheet and significantly enhanced its financial flexibility. At its emergence, the Company entered into an amended and restated credit facility providing for a new reserve-based revolving loan. The initial borrowing base under the credit facility is $325 million, with the first scheduled redetermination of the borrowing base in April 2019. Also, with total debt outstanding of $297 million, and cash on hand of approximately $21 million, total liquidity will be approximately $46 million. Michael E. Mercer, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented that, “Today begins an important new chapter for our Compan

No Injuries in West Virginia Pipeline Explosion

From Reuters: TransCanada Corp said it has isolated the section of Columbia Gas Transmission pipe that exploded early Thursday in Moundsville, West Virginia.  There were no employees at the site at the time of the blast around 4:15 a.m. EDT (0815 GMT) and no homes were in danger, officials from the Roberts Ridge Volunteer Fire Department told local news media.  The company said in a statement that its first priority was to protect the public and the environment.  Moundsville is located in Marshall County on the West Virginia panhandle on the Ohio-West Virginia border in the heart of the giant Marcellus and Utica natural gas shale formations. TransCanada said the incident could impact about 1.3 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) of gas service, according to a notice to customers using the pipeline.  One billion cubic feet is enough gas for about five million U.S. homes. Click here to continue reading the article. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNew

Rig Count Holds Steady as Utica Shale Permitting Remains Glacial

New permits issued last week:   2   (Previous week:  3 )  -1 Total horizontal permits issued:  2837   (Previous week:  2835 )  +2 Total horizontal wells drilled:  2358  (Previous week:  2358 )  +-0 Total horizontal wells producing:  1899  (Previous week:  1901 )  -2 Utica rig count:  19  (Previous week:  19 )   +-0 Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

Anti-Fracking Kucinich Begs for Money After 40-Point Ohio Gubernatorial Primary Loss

by Jackie Stewart, Energy in Depth Following a landslide defeat in the recent primary election,  failed Ohio gubernatorial candidate  and anti-fracking activist Dennis Kucinich made embarrassing headlines again this week. This time Kucinich was caught begging for cash to help cover expenses from his over-extended campaign to stop shale development in the Buckeye State. As the Cleveland Plain Dealer  reported , “Normally when a campaign ends, the candidate stops asking for money. That’s not the case with Dennis Kucinich.” No, not at all. Kucinich was recently caught begging for tens of thousands to cover campaign expenditures. Recall that Kucinich  launched  his bid for governor largely on a campaign platform that called for a fracking ban and stopping oil and gas development in its tracks. He even campaigned up and down the Ohio River with an outrageous “”Environmental Devastation Tour” that prompted a barrage of backlash from people who actually live and work in eastern Ohio, s

2018 Marcellus and Utica Shale Almanac Now Available

From MDN: MDN is  very  excited to announce the publication of the  Marcellus & Utica Shale Upstream Almanac 2018 . The  Almanac  is a deep dive into the numbers, designed to answer the questions: “Who’s drilling where and how much?” and, “What are the trends? Is drilling going up, down, or maintaining?” It has taken us nearly one year to research and produce this 397-page report. Using data from the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection, Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources, and West Virginia Dept. of Environmental Protection, MDN has produced the only report of its kind, looking year by year at (1) how many Marcellus/Utica wells were spud (drilled or begun to be drilled), (2) how many wells are actually producing, (3) how many permits have been issued for new shale wells, (4) how much production was generated for methane, oil and NGLs. This information is available year by year for 2011-2017–not only by each individual county where there was any kind of M-U activity, but al

ODNR Releases Updated Utica and Marcellus Shale Activity Maps

Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

Permitting Slows Again in Utica Shale as Rig Count Drops Below 20

New permits issued last week:   3   (Previous week:  7 ) -4 Total horizontal permits issued:  2835   (Previous week:  2834 )  +1 Total horizontal wells drilled:  2358  (Previous week:  2357 )  +1 Total horizontal wells producing:  1901  (Previous week:  1901 )  +-0 Utica rig count:  19  (Previous week:  20 )   -1 Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

Utica Shale Getting More Attention in West Virginia and Pennsylvania

From Kallanish Energy: There is a “new” play that’s beginning to garner some serious interest in the Appalachian Basin, with one major basin player admitting it’s moving to a drilling program centered on this particular play.  This play is stacked with the Mighty Marcellus in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and thus, until now, has pretty much been an after thought in those two states.  The ‘dry’ Utica  But the Utica Shale is going to break out in a big way as exploration takes place. Yes, that Utica Shale. Thought by many as an eastern Ohio play, geologic maps indicate the Utica is much bigger than the Marcellus, covering more area, more states, extending under Lakes Erie and Ontario, and into Canada.  In fact, the thickest portion of the Utica in terms of pay is in Westmoreland County, in southwest Pennsylvania.  “Since the Utica gets relatively deeper and drier moving east, it’s often referred to as ‘dry Utica’ in Pennsylvania and West Virginia,” according to Marissa And

Oil Industry Not Happy With President Trump's Tariffs

From the Washington Examiner: The oil industry's lead trade group said it is "deeply discouraged" by President Trump's Thursday decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico, and the European Union.  “We are deeply discouraged by the administration’s actions to impose tariffs on our three closest trading partners," said Jack Gerard, president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute. The industry views the decision "as a step in the wrong direction,” he said.  The oil and natural gas group has been pushing hard against tariffs proposed by Trump, including those imposed on $150 billion of Chinese products , because of the industry's dependence on dozens of imports.  When the president announced the duties in March, saying the penalties were necessary to ensure the U.S. maintains a viable steel industry, he initially granted exemptions to Europe, Mexico, and Canada through June 1.  The tariffs that Trump announ

Court Decision Puts Midstream Companies at Risk

From Vorys Energy & Environmental Law Blog: On May 25, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld a district court’s decision that Sabine Oil & Gas Corporation could reject certain gathering service agreements in bankruptcy. The agreements, with Nordheim Eagle Ford Gathering, LLC, provided that Nordheim would supply Sabine with certain gathering, transportation and treatment services for Sabine’s natural gas and condensate production. The Court of Appeals determined that the agreements were not “real covenants that run with the land,” and therefore, could be rejected in bankruptcy as executory contracts. Under Texas law, horizontal privity was required for a covenant to run with the land—i.e., “there must have been some common interest in the land other than the purported covenant itself at the time it was executed.” That was not the case here, the court found. Nor was the horizontal privity requirement satisfied by a separate agreement betwee

U.S. Shale Set to Weather the Effects of OPEC's Oil Price Strategies

From CNN Money: Head-spinning price swings have returned with a vengeance to the oil market.  A few words from Saudi Arabia about OPEC and Russia pumping more sent crude crashing 8% in the span of just a few days. The dramatic sell-off wiped out a chunk of the recent spike above $70 a barrel that was driven by concerns about President Trump's sanctions on Iran.   Yet the crazy price moves are unlikely to derail the years-long recovery for the American oil industry from the 2014-2016 crash, which wiped out hundreds of thousands of jobs and sparked dozens of bankruptcies.  Enormous improvements in shale drilling technology have made oil companies more resilient than the last time they faced major volatility. US oil production is soaring and on track to shatter all-time records.  Equally important: The boom-to-bust oil industry is working hard not to repeat mistakes of the recent past. Companies have slashed costs, cleaned up their balance sheets and adopted a more discipl

22 Graduate From Utica Shale Academy

From The Times Leader: The Utica Shale Academy graduated 22 of its newest alumni during it commencement ceremony on Thursday. Seniors from the main site at Southern Local High School and the satellite location at Columbiana High School joined family, friends and school leaders for the event at Salineville. USA Director Eric Sampson welcomed the crowd to the fourth annual exercise and thanked officials at both schools for partnering with academy and benefiting the students.  “I would like to thank each and every one of you for being here this evening as we celebrate this one brief moment in time that, for these graduates, has been many years in the making,” Sampson said. “Tonight is a celebration of accomplishments of the individuals that sit here before us. Graduates, each of you have traveled a path that has brought you to this destination. Some of those paths may have been very similar, and some probably couldn’t be more different. But each of those paths brought you to this poin

Ohio Colleges and Universities Receive Over $852,000 From ExxonMobil and Employees

From an ExxonMobil press release: ExxonMobil and its employees, including XTO staff, contributed more than $852,000 to 33 institutions of higher education across Ohio as part of the ExxonMobil Foundation’s 2017 Educational Matching Gift Program.  ExxonMobil and XTO employees, retirees, directors and surviving spouses contributed almost $217,000 to 33 Ohio colleges and universities, which was matched by over $635,000 in unrestricted grants from the ExxonMobil Foundation. Although grants are unrestricted, colleges and universities are encouraged to designate a portion to math and science programs supporting student engagement.  ExxonMobil’s program matches donor pledges on a 3:1 basis up to $7,500 to qualified colleges and universities in the United States, as well as the American Indian College Fund, Hispanic Scholarship Fund and the United Negro College Fund. More than $665 million has been contributed to such American institutions over the more than 50 years the company has off