Showing posts from March, 2019

U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson Expresses Optimism About Belmont County Cracker Plant

From The Intelligencer: U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson urged patience as the region awaits official word on a proposed ethane cracker plant in Belmont County, and said the local project is moving faster than a similar one did in Western Pennsylvania.  Johnson, R-Ohio, gave the keynote address at the Project BEST “Excellence in Construction” Awards Thursday at The Highlands Event Center in Triadelphia.  He reminded those attending the project represents a $9 billion investment by PTT Global Chemical that would take six years and 10,000 construction workers to build. After this, there would be 1,000 permanent jobs at the plant, and many more expected in ancillary industries.  The Shell Oil Corp. already is constructing a similar plant in Western Pennsylvania across the river from East Liverpool.  “I am still very optimistic about this (Belmont County) project,” Johnson said. “Do I wish we already had a decision on it? You bet. But let me remind you. … The time frame of this project — t

OOGA PR Director Touts Benefits of Natural Gas Development in Ohio

From The New Philadelphia Times-Reporter: Over the past nine years, the oil and gas industry has brought jobs, better roads and increased tax revenues to counties and school districts throughout eastern Ohio.  That was the message that Mike Chadsey, director of public relations for the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, brought to members of the New Philadelphia Rotary on Tuesday.  After he made his presentation, he stopped at The Times-Reporter office to discuss issues related to the industry.  “I am grateful to have had the opportunity to speak to the Rotary Club today,” he said. “My message was, as Tuscarawas County, you are not on the outside looking in, regarding shale development. There is much going on locally that is positive and directly connected to the oil and gas industry.”  Between 2010 and 2015, the industry has paid $45.8 million in taxes in six Ohio counties — Belmont, Carroll, Guernsey, Harrison, Monroe and Noble, he said. During that time, it paid $14 million in

Amid Opposition, Bobcat Energy Prepares to Place Injection Well Into Service

From Business Journal Daily: Work is underway at a Class II injection well site in Coitsville Township that was drilled, but then idled after a 4.0 magnitude earthquake rocked the Mahoning Valley more than seven years ago.  On Friday morning, backhoes and construction workers were busy at the well site along McCartney Road, preparing the area for further development.  “The Northstar Collins No. 6 well is listed as drilled, and the old permit has expired,” said Adam Schroeder, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Oil and Gas Division. “We’re having ongoing conversations with the owners and are awaiting an application for a new permit, if that’s the direction they want to go with the property.”  Schroeder said it’s likely that Bobcat Energy will apply for a permit to use the site for “oil and gas activity” once it is prepared.  When contacted by a reporter, a representative from Bobcat Energy hung up the phone. Continue the article by clicking here. 

Marathon Considers Building Storage Caverns in Harrison County

From The Canton Repository: Marathon Pipe Line is looking to build storage caverns for ethane, butane and propane near Hopedale in northeastern Harrison County.  Jason Stechschulte, the company’s commercial development manager, said Marathon Pipe Line finished taking geologic core samples at the end of last year, and felt confident the location is viable.  MPLX has a gas processing plant at the Hopedale site, and Findlay-based Marathon Petroleum Corp. controls MPLX and Marathon Pipe Line.  Stechschulte didn’t provide a timeline for when the project might be completed.  He spoke Thursday at the Utica Midstream conference at Walsh University’s Barrette Center. The Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce and produced the event. Read more by clicking right here. 

Bernie Sanders Pledges to Ban Fracking if Elected President

From The Daily Caller: Sen. Bernie Sanders, a 2020 presidential candidate, pledged to ban the drilling technique that’s turned the U.S. into the world’s largest oil and natural gas producer.  “Fracking pollutes water, degrades air quality and worsens climate change,” the Vermont Independent tweeted Tuesday. “When we are in the White House we are going to ban fracking nationwide and rapidly move to renewable energy.” Bernie Sanders ✔ @BernieSanders Fracking pollutes water, degrades air quality and worsens climate change. When we are in the White House we are going to ban fracking nationwide and rapidly move to renewable energy. Thank you @ ORHouseDems for taking this important step to stop fracking. Statesman Journal ✔ @Salem_Statesman Oregon House approves 10-year ban on 'fracking' for oil, natural gas exploration http:// salem/home~Oregon-House-approves-year-ban-on-aposfrackingapos-for-oil-nat

Meeting Set for April 15 on Re-Classification of Coshocton County Injection Wells

From Kallanish Energy News: The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has scheduled an April 15 public meeting on draft permits to allow Buckeye Brine to switch its Class 2 brine injection wells in Coshocton County to Class 1 facilities, to handle other industrial liquid wastes.  The facility currently takes brine water from hydraulic fracturing at its three injection wells in Coshocton in east-central Ohio, Kallanish Energy reports. The company has been handling roughly 600,000 gallons of brine per year from Utica Shale production. Read more by clicking here. 

Four Years of Studies in Texas Leads to Conclusion That Groundwater Contamination is Not From Drilling

From UT News: After four years of studies, scientists have found no link between methane present in water wells outside of Fort Worth and nearby gas production activities in the Barnett Shale. The methane appears to have migrated naturally to the wells from the shallower Strawn formations and not from the Barnett Shale, where natural gas production and hydraulic fracturing are occurring. By conducting the studies, researchers believe they have developed important methods that could be applied in similar situations to determine where methane originates in an environment.  The latest study, published in August in Water Resources Research, is the fifth and final in a series conducted by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Michigan that looks at groundwater wells in the Barnett Shale area. The vast majority of the wells have little or no methane in the water, but a cluster of 11 wells near the Parker County and Hood County line had methane levels abov

Oil Giants Look to Cash In on Shale as Independents Pull Up

From Reuters: In New Mexico’s Chihuahuan Desert, Exxon Mobil Corp is building a massive shale oil project that its executives boast will allow it to ride out the industry’s notorious boom-and-bust cycles.  Workers at its Remuda lease near Carlsbad - part of a staff of 5,000 spread across New Mexico and Texas - are drilling wells, operating fleets of hydraulic pumps and digging trenches for pipelines.  The sprawling site reflects the massive commitment to the Permian Basin by oil majors, who have spent an estimated $10 billion buying acreage in the top U.S. shale field since the beginning of 2017, according to research firm Drillinginfo Inc.  The rising investment also reflects a recognition that Exxon, Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell and BP Plc largely missed out on the first phase of the Permian shale bonanza while more nimble independent producers, who pioneered shale drilling technology, leased Permian acreage on the cheap. Read the rest of the article by clicking here. 

Last Week Was a Quiet One in Utica Shale Permitting

New permits issued last week:   5  (Previous week:  6 )   -1 Total horizontal permits issued:  3042  (Previous week:  3037 )    +5 Total horizontal wells drilled:  2554  (Previous week:  2552 )   +2 Total horizontal wells producing:  2167  (Previous week:  2168 )   -1 Utica rig count:  15  (Previous week:  15 )   +-0

Effort to Reduce Ohio Regulations Stands to Benefit Oil and Gas Industry

From Energy News Network: A broad proposal in Ohio to slash state regulations by 30 percent across the board could further tilt the playing field against renewable energy by relaxing rules on utilities and fossil fuels.  Supporters see Senate Bill 1 as a way to create an ideal business environment in the state, while opponents say it would threaten many rules that are essential to protect Ohioans, including environmental rules, regulations for utilities, the state fire code and a host of other requirements.  Utilities and mining companies are expected to be among the biggest winners if the legislation makes it into law. Among other things, the bill could stymie adoption of new environmental rules requiring fossil fuel operations to control emissions more. At the same time, it could relieve fossil fuel plants of some of their current obligations if those rules get eliminated.  “This is an arbitrary reduction that does not get at whether rules are accomplishing a useful purpose.

Landowners in Pennsylvania Get Good News in Fight Against Chesapeake Energy Royalty Scheme

From the PA Environment Digest Blog: On March 15, Commonwealth Court issued a decision allowing Attorney General Josh Shapiro to pursue Unfair Trade Practices Act cases against Chesapeake Energy and Anadarko for promises they made to landowners when leasing their land for natural gas drilling.  The Court found that natural gas leases were in fact “trade” and “commerce” and therefore covered by the state Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act.  With respect to a second claim based on anti-trust by the Attorney General that the companies made an unlawful market sharing agreement to not lease properties for drilling in areas where one or the other company was operating intrinsically violated the Unfair Trade Practices Act, the Court said the law does not support that conclusion.  However, with respect a separate count argued by the Attorney General that the companies allegedly disingenuous and misleading behavior constitutes unfair methods of competition and unfair

Founder of the Center for Industrial Progress Touts Fossil Fuel Benefits

From Business Journal Daily: An energy theorist and founder of the Center for Industrial Progress , a for-profit think tank based in California, says efforts to constrict the use of fossil fuels stand to make overall life on the planet worse, not better.  “There are unique positives that outweigh the unique negatives,” Alex Epstein, author of the book “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels,” told attendees at the Youngstown/Warren Regional Commerce’s annual meeting Thursday at Mr. Anthony’s Banquet Center. “The fossil fuel industry is the only industry that can supply enough energy so that billions can afford it.”  Epstein often clashes with environmentalists and scientists who say that the continued use of fossil fuels – oil, natural gas and coal – to power society has contributed to global warming and is irreparably damaging the earth. They also challenge Epstein’s reluctance to accept renewable forms of energy – solar and wind, for example – as a workable alternative to traditional

Stark County Judge Throws Out Ohio AG's Lawsuit Against Rover Pipeline

From The Canton Repository: A Stark County judge has dismissed the state’s lawsuit against Rover Pipeline over alleged water pollution during construction of the natural gas pipeline.  In a ruling filed Monday, Common Pleas Judge Kristin G. Farmer said the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency waived its right to regulate pipeline construction under the Clean Water Act.  The state had a year to act on Rover’s application seeking to discharge pollutants under the Clean Water Act, and failed to do so, the judge wrote. Instead, Ohio EPA asked Rover to resubmit its application, which was approved.  The Ohio attorney general sued Rover in November 2017, alleging environmental violations in more than a dozen counties across the state due to sediment-laden stormwater, leaks and spills of clay-based drilling fluid or the release of water used to pressure-test the pipeline.  The biggest spill happened in April 2017 when millions of gallons of clay-based drilling fluid leaked into a Bet

Ohio Landowner Misses Rice Energy

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Larry Cain is a “we” kind of guy.  “We’re playing our rivals,” Mr. Cain, 61, says on his way to a high school basketball game.  “We just milk cows,” he says modestly, and it’s not clear if he’s talking about himself and his son Devin Cain who run the Cain Farm in Bethesda, Ohio, or the hundreds of farmers and landowners he once shepherded into a lucrative arrangement with Rice Energy Inc.  When Canonsburg-based Rice announced in June 2017 that it had agreed to be acquired by EQT Corp. , Mr. Cain had another kind of “we” moment.  “We need to talk,” he texted Toby Rice, COO and co-founder of Rice Energy.  That night, he got a call — a difficult call. Mr. Rice didn’t come out and say he didn’t want to sell the company, Mr. Cain recalled. He talked about doing what’s best for the shareholders and how EQT offered $6.7 billion. Keep on reading by clicking here. 

Work Continues at Proposed Cracker Plant Site

From Kallanish Energy News: Tree clearing is under way at the site of a proposed ethane cracker plant in eastern Ohio, even though a final investment decision is still pending by PTT Global Chemical America and its partner, Daelim.  The companies last week announced they have hired a local firm to clear 140 acres in Belmont County of trees by March 31, Kallanish Energy reports.  The local company will remove all trees three inches in diameter and larger at the site at Shadyside, on the Ohio River where a now-razed coal-burning power plant used to stand. Click here to read the rest of that article. Meanwhile, Marcellus Drilling News reports that the reason for the delay in a final decision on the construction of the plant may be a dispute over labor rates.  From MDN: Our impeccable source tells us that multiple reliable sources told him/her that while the engineering contract was awarded to Bechtel last year, and while Bechtel was also tapped to actually perform construction

Permitting Slows in Utica Shale Last Week, But Producing Wells Total Climbs

New permits issued last week:   6  (Previous week:  21 )   -15 Total horizontal permits issued:  3037  (Previous week:  3031 )    +6 Total horizontal wells drilled:  2552  (Previous week:  2546 )   +6 Total horizontal wells producing:  2168  (Previous week:  2141 )   +27 Utica rig count:  15  (Previous week:  14 )   +1

Utica Shale Activity Map for March 2019 Now Available

There was previously an error on the ODNR website causing the Marcellus shale map to show when attempting to access the Utica map, but that has been corrected.  So here is the updated activity map!

Encino Plans a Measured Approach to Maximizing Utica Assets

From the Akron Beacon Journal: In an industry known for boom-and-bust cycles, Encino Energy plans to follow a strategy of stable development in Ohio’s Utica Shale, President and CEO Hardy Murchison said Friday.  Encino Energy is a partner in Encino Acquisitions Partners, which bought Chesapeake Energy’s assets in Ohio last year for $2 billion, including an office building office in Louisville, drilling rights to 900,000 acres and more than 900 wells.  But where Chesapeake spent freely to explore new areas — and piled up debt — Texas-based Encino Energy has focused on proven reserves and a healthier balance sheet.  “All of that is part of a longer-term strategy to run this as a normal business that needs to be profitable, less volatile and therefore better for its shareholders, its employees and the community,” Murchison told The Canton Repository after he and other members of Encino’s team spoke to the Stark Economic Development Board at Kent State University at Stark.  On Th

Digging Deep Into the 4th Quarter 2018 Utica Shale Production Data

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has now released the production data from the Utica shale for the fourth and final quarter of 2018. 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 give you the top 10 oil and gas-producing wells of the quarter. First, a quick note.  The ODNR news release says that there are 2,575 wells on the report and 2,241 of them reported some production.  But in examining the actual report that was released, only 2,241 total wells are listed, and 39 of those do not show any oil, gas, or brine produced.  So the numbers on this deep dive into the numbers will use what we were actually able to take from the report rather than what was listed in the news release. PRODUCTION RATE COMPARISONS First up, let's take a look at how the quarterly data compares from the first quarter of 2

ODNR Publishes 4th Quarter 2018 Utica Shale Production Data

From the ODNR: During the fourth quarter of 2018, Ohio’s horizontal shale wells produced 5,810,484 barrels of oil and 663,534,323 Mcf (663 billion cubic feet) of natural gas, according to figures released today by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).   Natural gas production from the fourth quarter of 2018 showed a 31.89 percent increase over the fourth quarter of 2017, while oil production increased 38.56 percent for the same period.   2017 Quarter 4 (Shale) 2018 Quarter 4 (Shale) Percentage Change Barrels of oil 4,193,562 bbl 5,810,484 bbl 38.56% Mcf of natural gas 503,066,907 Mcf 663,534,323 Mcf 31.89% The ODNR quarterly report lists 2,575 horizontal shale wells, 2,241 of which reported oil and natural gas production during the quarter. Of the wells reporting oil and natural gas results: The average amount of oil produced was 2,593 barrels. The average amount of natural gas produced was 296,088 Mcf. The average number of fourt

Good News: The Daily Digger is Sticking Around

Thanks to the support of our sponsors and feedback we've received from readers, we have decided to keep The Daily Digger blog alive. While our monthly printed newsletter will still end with this month's March issue, you can plan to continue visiting this website for updates on the oil and gas activity in the area! Thank you to our audience for your continued support of the blog.  We are very happy to continue serving you with the latest news and information! Please support our advertisers!  They are the reason we are able to keep going.  And when you patronize their businesses, be sure and mention that you saw them on The Daily Digger!

Utica Rig Count Dips During Busy Week of Permitting

New permits issued last week:   21  (Previous week:  9 )   +12 Total horizontal permits issued:  3031  (Previous week:  3015 )    +16 Total horizontal wells drilled:  2546  (Previous week:  2535 )   +11 Total horizontal wells producing:  2141  (Previous week:  2141 )   +-0 Utica rig count:  14  (Previous week:  17 )   -3

Last Days of The Daily Digger Are Counting Down

On March 31, 2019 we will stop operating The Daily Digger blog.  The March 2019 issue of The Digger energy news publication will be the last that we publish. Throughout this month we will continue to update this page with the latest news as we have done throughout the more than 7 years that this blog has existed. Thank you to all those that have read and supported us throughout these years. If you have any interest in assuming control of the blog and/or print publication, please feel free to contact us by calling 330-576-4809 Ext. 115 or emailing . 

ODNR Publishes Marcellus Activity Map for March 2019

The ODNR also published a map that it says is the Utica activity map for the month, but when opened it is just the Marcellus map again.  If/when that error gets corrected, we will share that map as well.

Rig Count, Wells Drilled, Wells Producing All Hold Steady in Utica Shale

New permits issued last week:   9  (Previous week:  9 )   +-0 Total horizontal permits issued:  3015  (Previous week:  3006 )    +9 Total horizontal wells drilled:  2535  (Previous week:  2535 )   +-0 Total horizontal wells producing:  2141  (Previous week:  2141 )   +-0 Utica rig count:  17  (Previous week:  17 )   +-0

As Wait for Final Decision Continues, Preparation for Belmont County Cracker Plant Carries On

From The Intelligencer: Community leaders on both sides of the Ohio River want to ensure the local region is prepared if an ethane cracker plant proposed for Belmont County becomes a reality. PTT Global Chemical America and its partner, Daelim Industrial Co., have acquired the necessary property and permits to build a petrochemical complex that could require an investment of up to $10 billion. One of the needed environmental permits has been challenged, and the companies are awaiting the results of the appeals process. There has been no official announcement yet regarding whether the plant will actually be built.  In hopes that an announcement to that effect will come soon, Belmont County Tourism Council, Wheeling Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Greater Moundsville Convention and Visitors Bureau hosted an event Thursday at Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack where community members could ask questions and learn more about the proposed plant and about other communities tha

One NEXUS Pipeline Lawsuit Gets Tossed, Another Keeps Going

From Vorys Energy & Environmental Law Blog: On February 21, 2019, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a petition for review of air permits issued by Ohio EPA for two compressor stations to be constructed along the NEXUS pipeline in Ohio. The Court dismissed the petition for review for lack of jurisdiction, holding the environmental groups that filed the petition for review failed to establish standing. In reaching its decision, the Court highlighted that “petitioners bore the burden of establishing the irreducible constitutional minimum of standing” which requires petitioners demonstrate that they (1) suffered an injury in fact, (2) that is fairly traceable to the challenged conduct of the defendant, and (3) that is likely to be redressed by a favorable judicial decision. The Court also noted that a citizen group can establish standing on behalf of their members, but such “representational standing” requires the group to show that “its members would otherwise have stand

Ohio Man Charged for Making Bomb Threat to Oil and Gas Company

From the Observer-Reporter: An Ohio man was arrested Tuesday on accusations he phoned a bomb threat last year into a company in North Strabane Township that services the Marcellus shale natural gas industry. Township police charged Ryan Patrick Dougherty, 39, of Belmont, after determining his cellphone was used to place the call about 11:25 p.m. Nov. 16 to Myers Well Service in Eighty Four, court records show. The threat prompted evacuations of Myers, at 40 Industry Drive, and several other nearby businesses, including the SpringHouse Market, where bakers were working the midnight shift, police stated in the affidavit. The night supervisor at Myers answered the call, in which a man told him that half of his employees were on drugs, the court record show. The caller didn’t like the answer he received, and he then said, “Since you don’t care, the bomb has already been planted, and at 9 a.m., the place will go up in smoke,” police stated in the affidavit. If you'd like to read more

Legal Dispute Over Second Lordstown Power Plant Resolved, Construction Planned

From the Youngstown Vindicator: The first plant began operation last October after about 21/2 years of construction.  Siderewicz and his company filed the lawsuit on behalf of the proposed second plant, known as the Trumbull Energy Center, in September 2017 asking Judge Peter Kontos to enforce the agreements the owners of the first plant signed to allow the second plant to be built.  The owners of the first plant, known as the Lords-town Energy Center, said they were holding off on deciding whether to allow the second plant’s construction until they had time to study the impact the second plant would have on the first plant.  Judge Kontos ruled in late 2017 that the owners of the first plant must sign an agreement related to the industrial park necessary for the second plant to proceed. An appeal of that ruling is pending. Read the rest of that article by clicking right here. And also from the Vindicator: Construction of a $925 million clean-energy power plant in Lordstown

Results From Cabot's Exploratory Wells Unsatisfactory

From a Cabot Oil & Gas press release: Fourth-quarter 2018 operating expenses (including financing) decreased to $1.87 per Mcfe, a seven percent improvement compared to the prior-year period. All operating expenses per unit were in-line with the Company's guidance for the quarter except for depreciation, depletion and amortization and exploration, driven by higher amortization of undeveloped leasehold and exploratory dry hole costs associated with unsuccessful drilling results in our exploration areas. "After further evaluation of our remaining exploration prospect, we have determined that this area is unlikely to yield results that generate long-term value creation for our shareholders," noted Dinges. "As we have said through this entire evaluation process, we remain committed to deploying capital judiciously and if a project fails to generate competitive full-cycle returns, then we will not allocate additional capital to it going forward." The explorat