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Mar 27, 2015

Coalition opposes plan to raise Ohio’s severance tax on oil and gas
 

A group of local elected, business, labor and community leaders in Ohio have formed a coalition to oppose Governor John Kasich’s plan to raise the state’s severance tax on oil and natural gas production, reports the Youngstown Business Journal. The newspaper says the Protect Ohio Jobs Coalition announced it is "dedicated to ensuring tax policies do not stop the growth of Ohio's oil and natural gas industry, the Ohio businesses that support it, and the Ohio jobs it creates in related industries." The coalition said it has more than 40 members opposing the severance tax increase proposed in House Bill 64, which continues to be debated in the Ohio House. For more, read the full story. Bricker & Eckler’s analysis of Kasich’s severance tax proposal can be found here.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Mar 27, 2015

Ohio rig count drops again as drilling companies pull back
 

The Youngstown Business Journal reports that the drilling rig count in Ohio’s Utica shale play continues to shrink as oil and natural gas producers see no break in the lower energy prices that have caused the industry to pull back on new exploration. The newspaper says that Ohio Department of Natural Resources reported that the rig count now stands at 26, down from 29 the prior week. By comparison, 51 rigs were operating in the Utica play during the week ending January 10, 2015. For more read, the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Mar 27, 2015

Statoil agrees on payment to drill under the Ohio River
 

Norway-based Statoil has agreed to pay an average price of $8,732 per acre to drill on 474 acres of state-owned land under the Ohio River in West Virginia’s Marshall and Wetzel counties, reports the Intelligencer/News-Register in Wheeling. The newspaper says the state of West Virginia will also receive 20 percent production royalties from natural gas drilling under the river. In addition, a spokeswoman for the West Virginia Department of Commerce told the newspaper that the state is still finalizing drilling agreements with Gastar Exploration and Noble Energy. For more, read the full story. Click here to read our August 27, 2014 blog, “West Virginia seeks bids for shale gas drilling below the Ohio River”


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  West Virginia   |  Permalink

 

Mar 26, 2015

Chesapeake executive: It’s time for companies to deliver results in Utica shale play
 

A Chesapeake Energy Corp. executive told Columbus Business First that it is time for oil and natural gas companies to start proving themselves after years of spending big on development of Ohio’s Utica shale play. "We're entering into a stage now ... where companies are going to be asked to start delivering results," said Chesapeake Executive Vice President Chris Doyle, while adding the caveat that low commodity prices and a continued strain on oil and gas infrastructure in the Utica play could change plans. "This is where you will be able to separate the weak from the strong," Doyle told Business First. For more, read the full story. More articles related to Chesapeake Energy can be found here.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Mar 26, 2015

Frozen market for oil and natural gas deals may start to warm up
 

Merger and acquisition deals in the oil and natural gas industry remain largely frozen as drillers wait for crude oil prices to hit bottom, but signs of a thaw are emerging, reports Bunker Ports News Worldwide. According to the news site, oil and gas exploration and production companies have issued nearly $9 billion in stock this year, well above recent first-quarter totals. Bunker Ports says some industry watchers see that as a precursor to increased mergers and acquisitions activity, as potential takeover targets and asset holders consider previously unacceptable prices. For more, read the full story.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Mar 25, 2015

Lifting U.S. ban on oil exports remains a hard sell in Congress
 

Despite a lobbying push by oil and natural gas drilling companies and steep job losses in their industry, there has been no significant effort in Congress to lift the 40-year-old ban on exporting U.S. crude oil, reports Oil and Gas Investor. Citing a story by Bloomberg, the oil and gas news site says that even Congress’ top advocate for lifting the ban, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, hasn’t proposed legislation that would allow exports to flow. The reason for the go-slow approach, according to Bloomberg, is wariness among lawmakers that they will be blamed if gasoline prices climb after the export ban is lifted. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Mar 25, 2015

U.S. oil futures hit six-year low as storage capacity becomes strained
 

Oil futures in the United States are at their lowest level since March 2009 because of speculation that a record supply of oil may start to strain the nation’s storage capacity, reports Bloomberg Business. Citing data from the Energy Information Administration, Bloomberg says U.S. crude oil inventories have increased to the highest level since at least 1982. “It’s highly probable that we will reach the inventory capacity,” Bill O’Grady, chief market strategist at Confluence Investment Management, told Bloomberg. “Once you run out of storage space, that oil has no place to go and prices will just fall.” For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Mar 24, 2015

Big oil companies are giving up on overseas shale drilling
 

After spending more than five years and billions of dollars trying to re-create the U.S. shale boom overseas, some of the world’s biggest oil companies are starting to give up amid a world-wide collapse in crude oil prices, reports the Wall Street Journal. The newspaper says that Chevron Corp., Exxon Mobile Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC have halted nearly all of their hydraulic fracturing operations in Europe, Russia and China. The reasons, according to the Journal, include sanctions in Russia, a drilling ban in France, a moratorium in Germany, poor results in Poland, and low crude prices. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Miscellaneous   |  Permalink

 

Mar 24, 2015

U.S. agency releases final standards for hydraulic fracturing
 

Following a process that included more than 1.5 million public comments, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell has released final standards for hydraulic fracturing on public and American Indian lands. The Department of the Interior says that the “common-sense standards will improve safety and help protect groundwater by updating requirements for well-bore integrity, wastewater disposal and public disclosure of chemicals” in well-drilling operations. “Current federal drilling regulations are more than 30 years old and they simply have not kept pace with the technical complexities of today’s hydraulic fracturing operations,” Jewell said in a press release. For more, read the full release.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Mar 23, 2015

Ohio judge strikes down community’s ban on oil and gas drilling
 

Ohio’s oil and natural gas industry received good news on March 11 when a Cuyahoga County judge struck down a Cleveland suburb’s charter amendment that sought to ban drilling, reports the Akron Beacon Journal.  According to the newspaper, Court of Common Pleas Judge Michael Astrab ruled that Broadview Heights’ charter conflicts with state law that gives the Ohio Department of Natural Resources the sole authority to oversee drilling. In 2011, Broadview Heights’ voters approved a charter change that banned drilling of new oil and gas wells, but Bass Energy Inc. and Ohio Valley Energy challenged the change in a court filing in June 2014. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio  Oil & Gas Litigation   |  Permalink

 

Mar 23, 2015

Rice Energy posts $103.8 million profit in fourth quarter
 

Even though Rice Energy Inc. was only in its first year as a publicly traded company, the Pennsylvania-based natural gas company reported a $103.8 million profit in the fourth quarter of 2014, reports the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The newspaper says Rice’s earnings of 76 cents per share reversed a loss of $15 million or 17 cents per share during the same period a year ago before the company went public in January 2014. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

Mar 19, 2015

Lingering questions about local control of drilling in Ohio could spark more court cases
 

Nearly a month after the Supreme Court of Ohio struck down five Munroe Falls’ ordinances, lawyers and local officials are predicting another round of court cases to settle how much control local governments have (if any) over oil and natural gas development, reports Midwest Energy News. The news site says that the Supreme Court’s ruling in State of Ohio ex rel. Jack Morrison, Jr. v. Beck Energy Corp. left open the question of whether Ohio will follow in the footsteps of New York and Pennsylvania, which have preserved some local powers over drilling, follow Colorado and Texas, which have taken a harder line, or chart a new path. For more, read the full story. Click here to read Bricker & Eckler’s full summary of the implications of the Supreme Court ruling.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Mar 18, 2015

U.S. oil glut could push storage tanks to their operational limits
 

The United States has so much crude oil that it is running out of places to store it, and that could drive oil and gasoline prices even lower in the coming months, reports Yahoo! News. Citing an Associated Press story, Yahoo says the country has been producing and importing an average of one million more barrels of oil every day than it is consuming. That extra crude is flowing into storage tanks, pushing U.S. supplies to their highest point in at least 80 years, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Yahoo! says if that keeps up, storage tanks could approach their operational limits by mid-April and send the price of crude — and probably gasoline as well — plummeting. For more, read the full story.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Mar 17, 2015

Experts say oil prices may remain low for several years
 

Bloomberg reports that a consensus is emerging among BP Plc, the International Energy Agency, shale wildcatters and even the Saudis that a near-term recovery to $100-a-barrel crude oil is not in the cards. Instead, industry insiders expect a range of $50 to $60 a barrel for at least the next few years, according to the news service. For example, Dennis Cassidy, co-leader of the oil and natural gas practice for consulting company AlixPartners, told Bloomberg that his group sees an L-shaped chart for crude in which low prices continue for three to five years. For more, read the full story.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Mar 17, 2015

OPEC strategist says plan to regain oil market share is working
 

Time magazine reports that Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi, architect of the strategy by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to regain market share by causing crude oil prices to plunge, says his plan is working. Time says that al-Naimi recently told reporters that the markets have cooled off and cited the price of Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, as having stabilized at about $60 per barrel. He also pointed to data that shows inexpensive oil is driving up demand, notably in China and the United States, which eventually could lead to price stability or to a price rebound. For more, read the full story.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Mar 16, 2015

Oil companies expected to step up pressure to lift U.S. export ban
 

An energy expert with the Wood Mackenzie consulting group tells the Dallas Business Journal that oil drillers will put more pressure on President Barack Obama and federal lawmakers to lift the U.S. ban on crude oil exports. The newspaper says that pressure will stem from the price gap – possibly as much as $15 to $20 per barrel – between domestic West Texas Intermediate crude oil and international Brent crude. "(Drillers) would really like to capture that Brent price,” Wood Mackenzie’s Harold York told the Business Journal, adding the federal policy keeps them from getting the higher price than if U.S. exports were allowed to flow freely. For more, read the full story.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Mar 13, 2015

U.S. Steel says layoffs at Lorain plant tied to low gasoline prices
 

Low gasoline prices are partially to blame for the layoffs of 614 workers at U.S. Steel’s Tubular Operations plant in Lorain, Ohio, reports the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram. A U.S. Steel spokeswoman told the newspaper that low gas prices are a “large contributing factor” to the layoffs, saying those prices reduce the profit incentive for hydraulic fracturing and conventional oil drilling companies that buy pipe produced by the Lorain mill. The spokeswoman said the layoffs aren’t permanent, but she wouldn’t estimate when the workers will be recalled and the mill restarted. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Mar 12, 2015

Company looks at investing $1 billion to build gas-fired power plants in West Virginia
 

Energy Solutions Consortium is looking at building two natural gas-fired power plants in Beech Bottom, West Virginia, possibly making a $1 billion investment in a project that would create 60 full-time jobs, reports the State Journal in Charleston. W.Va. The newspaper says the New York-based company would have to apply for permits to construct a 550-megawatt plant to serve the nearby Windsor High Voltage substation and a 750-megawatt facility serving the Tidd High Voltage substation across the Ohio River in Brilliant, Ohio. Energy Solutions is looking at buying the property, the former Wheeling Corrugating plant, from the Business Development Corporation of the Northern Panhandle, the State Journal reports. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  West Virginia   |  Permalink

 

Mar 12, 2015

Kasich may turn to voters if Ohio legislators don’t approve severance tax plan
 

The Plain Dealer in Cleveland reports that Ohio Governor John Kasich said he still hopes state legislators will approve his plan to increase Ohio's severance tax on natural gas and oil production, but he cautioned that the decision could wind up before Ohio voters if lawmakers don’t act. "We talked internally about trying to figure out who out there in the community may want to put this thing on the ballot," Kasich said during a meeting with the news media. The Plain Dealer says that state legislators, who killed Kasich’s previous proposals to raise the tax, are again showing reluctance to support his plan, with many having said they don't want to do anything that would dissuade drillers from operating in Ohio. For more, read the full story. Bricker & Eckler’s analysis of Kasich’s tax proposal can be found here.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Mar 11, 2015

Report: Only a small fraction of disposal wells associated with damaging seismic activity
 

A report from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) concludes that only a small fraction of the more than 30,000 wastewater disposal wells in the United States appears to be associated with damaging seismic activity, according to Mealey’s Fracking Report. Mealey’s says that the CRS report also states that the potential for seismic activity caused by hydraulic fracturing in oil and natural gas drilling operations appears to be even smaller than that posed by deep-well injection of wastewater. The CRS report says it is likely that states and possibly the federal government will continue to explore ways to understand and mitigate the possibility of seismic activity caused by a small number of disposal wells.  An overview of the report can be found here.


 
Posted by D. Gerken in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Mar 11, 2015

Waterless fracking company sells most of its assets and technology
 

Waterless fracking company GasFrac Energy Services Inc, has announced a deal to sell most of its assets and technology to an undisclosed oil and natural gas company, reports Columbus Business First. The newspaper says that GasFrac, based in Calgary, Canada, had inspired a lot of hope in the oil and gas industry as it was testing a waterless fracking well in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, with EV Energy Partners LP and other business partners. GasFrac's technique uses gelled propane instead of water in hydraulic fracturing. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Mar 10, 2015

Eclipse Resources looks at joint venture for drilling projects
 

Eclipse Resources Corp. is considering a joint venture as lower natural gas prices continue to bite the drilling industry, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. According to the newspaper, Eclipse, which drills primarily in eastern Ohio’s Marcellus and Utica shale plays, said it was in talks with unnamed companies for a joint venture that would "accelerate drilling on its assets without burdening the company's balance sheet." The company, based in State College, Pennsylvania, said a joint venture could involve part of its 2015 capital budget and possibly factor into its 2016 plans, but added there are no guarantees a deal will happen. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

Mar 10, 2015

Ohio property owners allowed to renegotiate oil and gas leases
 

Twenty-five Ohio property owners have been permitted to renegotiate certain details of their oil and natural gas leases after a four-year legal fight, reports Farm and Dairy. The newspaper says the property owners, mostly from Columbiana County in eastern Ohio, signed leases in 2008 for about $10 an acre under terms they claimed were misleading. The leases were purchased by Patriot Energy Partners, which sold the deep rights to Chesapeake Exploration for $1,100 an acre, according to Farm and Dairy. The property owners filed suit in the Columbiana County Court of Common Pleas in 2011, seeking to have the leases rescinded. In 2012, the court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, denying a motion for arbitration by the energy companies. However, the companies successfully appealed the case to the Seventh District Court of Appeals, which ruled in 2014 that the arbitration clause in the lease contracts was valid. Attorney Robert Guehl, who represented the plaintiffs, told Farm and Dairy that the property owners then sought non-binding arbitration, and an agreement was reached through mediation that could provide additional payments to the land owners. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by D. Gerken in  Ohio  Oil & Gas Litigation   |  Permalink

 

Mar 09, 2015

Factors could align to send oil prices plunging for a second time
 

While noting that crude oil prices have recently rebounded to as high as $60 a barrel, OilPrice.com reports that several trends could conspire to force prices down for a second time. The energy news site says drillers are deciding to delay completion of their wells in the hope that oil prices will become more favorable. But when the industry clears out that queue of wells, a rush of new supplies could come online, pushing oil prices down again, according to OilPrice.com. It also says that even with well completions being suspended, oil supplies continue to build with U.S. storage levels now at their highest in more than 80 years. For more, read the full story.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Mar 09, 2015

Fed: Oil and gas production rises in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia as coal declines
 

Researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland have found that the Fed’s Fourth District, which includes the Marcellus and Utica shale plays in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, has been part of a larger trend of increasing natural gas and oil production and a decline in coal mining, reports Crain’s Cleveland Business. The newspaper says Fed researchers contend that U.S. natural gas production expanded by 21 percent between 2009 and 2014 – a span when Ohio and West Virginia more than doubled their output of natural gas, while Pennsylvania increased its output by more than 1,000 percent. At the same time, coal production in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia declined, following the trend for the country. For more, read the full story. The Fed report can be found here.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio  Pennsylvania  West Virginia   |  Permalink

 

Mar 06, 2015

Experts say oil prices may remain low for several years
 

Bloomberg reports that a consensus is emerging among BP Plc, the International Energy Agency, shale wildcatters and even the Saudis that a near-term recovery to $100-a-barrel crude oil is not in the cards. Instead, industry insiders expect a range of $50 to $60 a barrel for at least the next few years, according to the news service. For example, Dennis Cassidy, co-leader of the oil and natural gas practice for consulting company AlixPartners, told Bloomberg that his group sees an L-shaped chart for crude in which low prices continue for three to five years. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Mar 06, 2015

Rise in oil and gas output spikes property tax bills in West Virginia
 

Higher output from wells in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays has spiked property tax bills for more than 23,000 oil and natural gas mineral owners across West Virginia this year, reports the Wheeling Intelligencer/News Register. The newspaper says some of those mineral rights owners have asked officials with the state tax department and Ohio County Commission in Wheeling how they can lower property tax bills they believe are unfairly calculated. But Ohio County commissioners told the taxpayers during a recent meeting that there is not much they can do to help because they lack the authority to change West Virginia’s tax laws. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  West Virginia   |  Permalink

 

Mar 05, 2015

Oilfield services companies brace for drop in Utica shale drilling
 

The number of oil and natural gas rigs in Ohio’s Utica shale play has dropped by more than a third since December 2014 and more could be idled if commodity prices stay low, reports the Massillon Independent. The newspaper says that is bad news for oilfield services companies, including Baker Hughes and Schlumberger. A Tuscarawas County economic development official told the Indepedent that oil and gas-related companies in his county have scaled backed their operations but “have not reduced their work force greatly at this point.” For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Mar 04, 2015

Natural gas processing plant opens in Wyoming’s Niobrara shale play
 

The $100 million Bucking Horse natural gas processing plant recently began operations in Converse County, Wyoming, processing gas from the Powder River Basin Niobrara shale play, reports the Douglas Budget. The Wyoming newspaper says that the Bucking Horse plant and the Jackalope Gas Gathering System in Wyoming are owned through a joint venture partnership between Tulsa-based Williams Partners and Crestwood Midstream Partners in Houston. The gathering and processing facilities provide services under a long-term, fee-based agreement with Chesapeake Energy Corp, the top driller in Ohio’s Utica shale play to date. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Mar 04, 2015

Ohio oil and gas production rises but slowdown expected soon
 

New data from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources shows that oil and natural gas production continued to rise in the state during the fourth quarter of 2014 even as commodity prices were falling, reports the Columbus Dispatch. But energy experts and oil and gas industry officials said not to read too much into those numbers and to expect low prices to discourage some production during the next few quarters.“Those numbers don’t tell the full story about the effect of the drop in commodity prices,” Bricker & Eckler LLP attorney Matt Warnock told the Dispatch. “I’ve seen rig count dropping. I’ve seen some companies exiting Ohio for a little while and focusing elsewhere.” For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by J. Bell in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Mar 03, 2015

NiSource plans to spend big to transport gas from Marcellus and Utica shale plays
 

Weeks after opening many of its natural gas pipelines to investors with the initial public offering of Columbia Pipeline Partners, Indiana-based utility NiSource Inc. said it plans to spend billions of dollars on building out its midstream holdings, reports Fuel Fix. The energy industry news site says that NiSource CEO Robert Skaggs indicated that the company would continue to look for ways to move natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale plays to markets in the mid-Atlantic region. Skaggs noted that Columbia Pipeline has more than $3 billion of growth projects in progress and will spend as much as $15 billion on expansion projects over the next decade. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio  Pennsylvania  West Virginia   |  Permalink

 

Mar 03, 2015

Shale industry official worries that Wolf tax plan puts Pennsylvania ‘cracker’ at risk
 

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that the president of a shale gas industry group is saying that Royal Dutch Shell warned Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf last summer that policies which hurt gas production could impact the company's decision on whether to build a multibillion-dollar “cracker” plant in Beaver County to turn ethane into plastics. Marcellus Shale Coalition President David Spigelmyer also told the newspaper that Wolf's recent proposal to tax natural gas production (See our February 17, 2015 blog, “Pennsylvania governor wants severance tax modeled after one in West Virginia”) threatens investments by energy companies and could slow production of gas and related liquids, such as ethane. But a spokeswoman for Royal Dutch Shell told the Tribune-Review: “At no time has Shell linked the potential future of the proposed petrochemical facility with Gov. Wolf's proposed natural gas severance tax.” For more, read the full story. More articles related to Royal Dutch Shell can be found here.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

Mar 02, 2015

Chesapeake Energy will reduce capital spending, drilling activity
 

Chesapeake Energy Corp., the most active driller in Ohio’s Utica shale play to date, said it will slash capital spending and drilling activity this year in the face of substantially lower oil and natural gas prices, reports the Youngstown Business Journal. According to the newspaper, Chesapeake will reduce its capital expenditure budget by 37 percent in 2015 to between $4 billion and $4.5 billion, compared to $6.7 billion in 2014. Chesapeake also reported it will reduce its rig count to between 35 and 45 this year, the lowest number since 2004. For more, read the full story. More stories related to Chesapeake can be found here.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio  United States   |  Permalink

 

Mar 02, 2015

Royalty payments in Pennsylvania take hit from lower natural gas prices
 

Royalty payments are down by a third to a half for some lease owners in Pennsylvania who sold their oil and natural gas mineral rights during the shale boom, reports the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. A spokesman for Range Resources told the newspaper that reduced royalty payments are a result of lower natural gas prices and less drilling activity. Leaseholders have also complained their royalty checks are being dented further by some drillers that are deducting post-production costs from their payments, according to the Tribune-Review. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

Feb 27, 2015

Colorado task force recommends local input on oil and gas drilling projects
 

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper’s oil and natural gas task force has endorsed plans for more local input on large-scale oil and gas drilling projects but stopped short of supporting proposals to give more power on drilling issues to local governments, reports the Denver Post. The newspaper says the proposals, which were approved by the task force, focus on enhancing the state permitting process and including local governments in siting decisions at an early stage. However, the task force rejected seven proposals that would have bolstered local governments' ability to make their own rules on oil and gas development. Local control of oil and gas regulation is also an issue in Ohio. (See our February 24 blog, “Supreme Court decision may not close door on local input on oil and gas drilling.”) For more, read the full Denver Post story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Feb 27, 2015

Drop in oil prices affects market for natural gas liquids
 

The fall in crude oil prices is also affecting the market for natural gas liquids, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The newspaper says the market for ethane, which makes up the largest portion of natural gas liquids production, is oversupplied, and ethane is also facing stiffer competition from naphtha, a petroleum byproduct that is cheaper due to falling oil prices. Prices for natural gas liquids have been higher than those for dry natural gas since 2010, but the Post-Gazette says the gap has been shrinking. For more, read the full story
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Feb 27, 2015

Fed up with New York’s ban on fracking, towns threaten succession and to join Pennsylvania
 

Fifteen New York towns that are upset with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s decision to ban hydraulic fracturing for oil and natural gas have threatened to secede from the state and join neighboring Pennsylvania where fracking is allowed, reports the Huffington Post. Conklin Town Supervisor Jim Finch told the Post  that the towns are compiling a report to assess the feasibility of joining Pennsylvania, noting they are in New York’s Southern Tier that’s sits on the natural gas-rich Marcellus shale formation. Finch said that allowing drilling in the region would provide an avenue for new jobs and a way to raise money for local schools and governments. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

Feb 26, 2015

Stark County, Ohio at the center of natural gas pipeline push
 

Shifting economics in the energy sector is making Stark County in northeast Ohio the focus of two natural gas interstate pipeline projects more than 15 years after another big pipeline proposal stalled because of a lack of customers, reports the Canton Repository. The newspaper says the latest projects are a result of a new supply of natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale plays that is rebalancing the national market for gas and rerouting pipeline networks. Pipelines planned by Energy Transfer Partners and NEXUS Gas Transmission would run through Stark County, moving gas from the Utica and Marcellus plays to markets in Ohio, Michigan and Canada. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Feb 25, 2015

Oil companies may turn to ‘refracking’ of wells to reduce costs
 

Beset by falling prices, the oil industry is looking at about 50,000 existing wells in the United States that may be candidates for a second wave of hydraulic fracturing, using techniques that didn’t exist when the wells were first drilled, Bloomberg reports. New wells can cost as much as $8 million to develop, while "re-fracking" is about $2 million, according to oilfield services company Halliburton. Bloomberg says re-fracking offered mixed results in the past, earning it the nickname “pump and pray,” but the crash in oil prices is forcing companies to pursue new technologies to produce oil more cheaply. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Feb 25, 2015

Pennsylvania agency divides boards to reflect differences in oil and gas operations
 

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is replacing all members of its oil and natural gas advisory board to give it a greater focus on shale drilling, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The newspaper says the department will also create a second board to advise the agency on regulations affecting the traditional drilling industry. The changes reflect a push by traditional drillers and state officials to more clearly separate rules for the conventional industry, with its generally smaller operations and shallower wells, from the larger operations of companies targeting the Marcellus and Utica shale formations. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

Feb 25, 2015

Ridgetop Capital launches fund to build hotels in Marcellus and Utica shale plays
 

The Pittsburgh Business Times reports that a former Wall Street banker who’s been investing in the Pittsburgh region's energy boom plans to develop hotels in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays. Brad Carpenter, principal of Ridgetop Capital Partners, told the newspaper that Ridgetop Hospitality has $6.4 million in hand toward a $10 million fund to create four hotels. Ridgetop Hospitality will look for properties in the same three-state region – Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia -- as Ridgetop Capital’s other funds. (See our February 3, 2015 blog, “Ridgetop Capital raises $200 million for Marcellus, Utica purchases”) For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio  Pennsylvania  West Virginia   |  Permalink

 

Feb 24, 2015

Congressional Democrats increase probe of disposal of oil and gas wastes
 

Democrats on a congressional oversight panel are stepping up their investigation into how well states are regulating the disposal of oil and natural gas wastes, citing public concern about the potential environmental and health risks of hydraulic fracturing, reports the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. According to the newspaper, U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania, the lead Democrat on a health subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said he will press environmental agencies in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia for fuller answers to his panel's questions on their level of inspections and enforcement actions regarding waste disposal. For more, read the full story.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio  Pennsylvania  West Virginia   |  Permalink

 

Feb 24, 2015

Supreme Court decision may not close door on local input on oil and gas drilling
 

The Ohio Supreme Court’s recent ruling in State of Ohio ex rel. Jack Morrison, Jr. v. Beck Energy Corp. may not have fully answered the question of whether the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) will always make the final call on oil and natural gas drilling in local communities, reports Columbus Business First. In a 4-3 decision on February 17, the Supreme Court affirmed the sole and exclusive authority of ODNR to regulate oil and gas production in Ohio, albeit in a limited context. Business First says that concurring Justice Terrence O'Donnell limited his argument to the local ordinances involved in the dispute, noting that whether a city has the authority to enact zoning rules on oil and gas wells within its boundaries is "a question yet to be decided."  For more, read the full story. Bricker & Eckler’s analysis of the Supreme Court ruling can be found here.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio  Oil & Gas Litigation   |  Permalink

 

Feb 23, 2015

Energy Transfer Partners changes plan on Canadian portion of Rover Pipeline
 

Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners has changed its plan to build portions of the Rover Pipeline in southeastern Michigan and Ontario, Canada, reports the Daily News in Chatham, Ontario. The newspaper says the company instead will connect the Rover Pipeline with the existing Vector Pipeline that crosses Michigan on its way from the Chicago area to a natural gas storage and trading facility in Lambton County, Ontario. Rover Pipeline will carry natural gas from processing facilities in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio to the Midwest Hub near Defiance, Ohio by the end of 2016 and into Michigan by mid-2017, according to the Daily News. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Miscellaneous  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Feb 23, 2015

Republican legislators seem wary of Kasich’s severance tax plan
 

State officials continue to defend Ohio Governor John Kasich's plan to increase severance tax rates on oil and natural gas produced via hydraulic fracturing, but some Republican members of the Ohio House Finance Committee don't appear to be supporting the proposal, reports the Daily Record in Wooster. "This does seem to be a rather large step compared to what we were proposing in the last General Assembly,” said Rep. Tim Derickson, R-Oxford, noting House Republicans backed a smaller severance tax increase package in 2014. For more, read the full story. Bricker & Eckler’s analysis of Kasich’s tax proposal can be found here.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Feb 20, 2015

Gastar says couple’s claim is barred in dispute over drinking water contamination
 

Energy company Gastar Exploration Inc. contends in a federal court filing that a West Virginia couple suing it for alleged contamination of drinking water from hydraulic fracturing operations has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, according to Mealey’s Fracking Report. In the dispute, Charles E. Bertrand v. Gastar Exploration Inc., N.D. W.Va. Case No. 14-00147, Charles and Debra Bertrand claim that Gastar contaminated their drinking water and caused other injuries. Mealey’s reports that the couple is seeking unspecified amounts for compensatory and punitive damages, alleging Gastar engaged in “intentional, unreasonable, negligent and/or reckless” interference with the enjoyment of their land and the contamination of their water. In its recent filing, Gastar argues that “the alleged damages, if any, of which Plaintiffs complain, were not proximately caused by or contributed to by any act or omission of Gastar.”

 


 
Posted by D. Gerken in  Oil & Gas Litigation  West Virginia   |  Permalink

 

Feb 20, 2015

Kasich pushes back on criticism of his severance tax plan
 

Ohio Governor John Kasich is pushing back against oil and natural gas industry experts who say now is not the time to raise the state’s severance tax on oil and gas production. (See our February 16, 2015 blog “Oil and gas industry says Kasich’s severance tax hike is ill-timed”) Kasich told WKSU in Kent, Ohio, that the price of natural gas has stayed “pretty stable” and the higher severance tax he is seeking will help diversify Ohio’s tax structure. For more, read the full story. Bricker & Eckler’s analysis of Kasich’s tax proposal can be found here.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Feb 19, 2015

Chesapeake files lawsuit against American Energy Partners and related entities
 

Reuters reports that Chesapeake Energy Corp. has filed a lawsuit against certain entities started by Aubrey McClendon, the founder and former chief executive officer of Chesapeake. According to Reuters, Chesapeake’s complaint (which was filed in Oklahoma County District Court) alleges that McClendon "misappropriated highly sensitive trade secrets from Chesapeake" and "subsequently used these trade secrets for the benefit of" American Energy Partners (and several other entities), which are active in Ohio’s Utica shale play. The news service says that McClendon issued a statement in which he characterized the lawsuit as baseless and said his severance agreement with Chesapeake included "the right to own and use this information." For more, read the full story. Click here to read the lawsuit. McClendon’s statement can be found here.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Oil & Gas Litigation   |  Permalink

 

Feb 19, 2015

Drones seen as cost saver for oil and natural gas industry
 

Drones could soon be flying over oil and gas infrastructure in eastern Ohio as engineering firms eye the devices as a costs-saving way to better survey large tracts of land, reports Columbus Business First. The newspaper says that deployment of the small, unmanned aerial instruments is just beginning in the Utica shale play, with potential uses ranging from flying over pipelines for maintenance checks to reviewing large projects that a potential buyer wants to ensure are in solid shape. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Feb 18, 2015

Pipeline project will pump $4.2 billion into Pennsylvania’s economy
 

A new study says Sunoco Logistics' expansion of its pipeline system for moving propane, butane and other natural gas liquids from the Marcellus and Utica shale plays to the East Coast will pump $4.2 billion into Pennsylvania’s economy and support 30,000 jobs during construction, reports the Tribune-Review in Pittsburgh. Citing a study by Philadelphia-based Econsult Solutions, the newspaper says many of those jobs are linked directly to construction of the $3 billion, 350-mile Mariner East 2 pipeline, while others will be created when the pipeline and a converted refinery at Sunoco’s Marcus Hook terminal outside Philadelphia open once construction wraps up in 2017. The Mariner East 2 project includes lines linking Ohio, West Virginia and southwest Pennsylvania to the main pipeline in Delmont, Pennsylvania. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

Feb 17, 2015

Ohio Supreme Court: Oil & Gas Drilling Statutes Preempt "Home Rule" Power
 

On February 17, in a split 4-3 decision, the Ohio Supreme Court affirmed the sole and exclusive authority of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) to regulate oil and gas production in Ohio, albeit in a limited context. In State of Ohio ex rel. Jack Morrison, Jr. v. Beck Energy Corp., the four-justice majority upheld the Ninth District Court of Appeals and concluded that the five city ordinances in question could not be enforced, because they were not a valid exercise of the municipality's home rule powers. Click here to read Bricker & Eckler’s full summary of the ruling’s implications.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Feb 17, 2015

Pennsylvania governor wants severance tax modeled after one in West Virginia
 

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has proposed a severance tax on natural gas production, saying the lion’s share of revenue would be used to fund education, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. According to the newspaper, Wolf said the details need to be worked out, but he is recommending a tax modeled after the one in West Virginia, which assesses a 5 percent charge on the value of produced natural gas, plus a 4.7-cent fee on every thousand cubic feet of natural gas drawn from the ground. Wolf said the severance tax would not come on top of Pennsylvania’s oil and gas impact fee; instead that fee would be rolled into the new tax. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

Feb 17, 2015

Report: Ohio injection wells handled 35 percent more drilling waste in 2014
 

Oil and gas drilling wastes handled by Ohio’s injection wells grew by nearly 35 percent in 2014, according to the Akron Beacon Journal. The newspaper said the total volume was 22 million barrels of liquid wastes, up from 16.3 million gallons in 2013, based on data compiled by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The volume of in-state waste was 32 percent higher than in 2013, the Beacon Journal says, while out-of-state waste, mostly from Pennsylvania and West Virginia, increased 37 percent. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Feb 16, 2015

Ohio Governor Unveils Proposed Budget for Fiscal Years 2016-2017: Severance Tax Revisions Remain on Tap
 

On February 11, House Bill 64, the two-year budget bill for the state, was introduced in the Ohio House of Representatives. Continuing a trend from prior budgets, the plan calls for an additional 23 percent reduction in the personal income tax rate and an expansion of the small business deduction to the first $2 million on net business income. These reductions would be paid for in part by increasing the sales tax rate from 5.75 percent to 6.25 percent, increasing the tax on tobacco products by $1, increasing the commercial activity tax from 0.26 percent to 0.32 percent of gross receipts, and revamping Ohio’s severance tax on oil and natural gas. The proposal increases the severance tax rate to 6.5 percent of the value of oil or natural gas at the wellhead, or in some cases, 4.5 percent of the value downstream. This varies significantly from the proposals that were considered during 2014. Read here for a summary that compares the various proposals and provides additional information on H.B. 64.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Feb 16, 2015

Oil and gas industry says Kasich’s severance tax hike is ill-timed
 

Ohio’s oil and natural gas industry is saying that Governor John Kasich’s latest plan to raise the state’s severance tax comes at the “absolute worst time,” reports the Columbus Dispatch. Fewer horizontal wells are being drilled and jobs are being lost as lower oil and gas prices and a supply glut combine to make it difficult to turn a profit, Ohio Oil and Gas Association Executive Vice President Shawn Bennett told the newspaper. An $180 million-plus annual tax increase, as sought by Kasich (See our February 4, 2015 blog, “Kasich’s budget plan calls for big boost in oil and gas severance tax") would further discourage drilling investments and job creation, Bennett said. For more, see the full story.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Feb 16, 2015

Pennsylvania court orders recalculation of damages in mineral rights case
 

The Superior Court of Pennsylvania has remanded an oil and natural gas mineral rights case to the trial court for a recalculation of damages that were awarded to a mineral rights owner in Dennis Sabella v. Appalachian Development Corp., Pa. Super. Case No 2014-237, according to Mealey’s Fracking Report. The dispute involves 66 subservice acres owned by Sabella in Warren County, Pennsylvania. Mealey’s reports that in 2010, Sabella filed suit in the Warren County Court of Common Pleas against Brian and Lisa Haner, operators of Pine Ridge Energy, which had purchased the mineral rights lease for Sabella’s land but allegedly had failed to pay him royalties for the oil and gas produced from it. Mealey’s says the Warren County court found the Haners liable for trespass and conversion and entered a judgment of $249,972 in favor of Sabella. According to Mealey's, the Superior Court partially affirmed the trial court’s ruling, but vacated its order denying Sabella prejudgment interest and delay damages. The Superior Court then remanded the case “for recalculation of compensatory damages freed from any offset for the costs of development and production."

 


 
Posted by D. Gerken in  Oil & Gas Litigation  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

Feb 13, 2015

Pennsylvania pipeline builders shielded from depressed natural gas prices
 

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that analysts are saying pipeline builders in western Pennsylvania are largely shielded from the fallout of depressed commodity prices that has resulted in spending cuts by companies that drill and produce natural gas. “Pipelines are kind of like owning a toll booth on a highway — once you build them, you're going to get guaranteed rates, and you don't build them unless you have subscribers,” said Frank Nieto, senior editor of Midstream Business at Hart Energy Publications in Houston. The Tribune-Review also says pipeline companies are in a “sweet spot” because the drilling boom in western Pennsylvania has led to a bottleneck in the natural gas transmission system. For more, read the full story
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

Feb 13, 2015

Report: Ohio's Utica shale play no longer a good news story
 

More than six months of declining oil prices, along with low prices for natural gas, have turned the news from good to bad in Ohio’s Utica shale play, reports Crain’s Cleveland Business. “There hasn't been a shortage of bad news for about the last two months now,” Shawn Bennett, executive vice president for the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, told the newspaper. The bad news, including Vallourec Star’s recent decision to shut down its Youngstown steel plant for three weeks (See our Feb. 11, 2015 blog “Ohio steel plant’s temporary shutdown tied to decline in oil and gas business”), follows what Crain’s calls the “good old days when a shale drilling story in Ohio usually was about some company coming here and spending billions on mineral rights leases or midstream processing plants and creating jobs like they were penny candies.” For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Feb 12, 2015

EQT writes off undeveloped acreage in Ohio’s Utica shale play
 

Pittsburgh-based EQT Corp. is writing off the value of its undeveloped acreage in the Utica shale play in eastern Ohio, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. The newspaper says the acreage is predominately in Guernsey County. During EQT’s recent earnings call, company executives said they wrote off the acreage because the estimate of the amount of natural gas that is likely to be recovered over the life of the undeveloped acreage was "significantly below expectations." For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Feb 12, 2015

EV Energy Partners plans to sell stake in Utica shale midstream network
 

EV Energy Partners L.P. plans to sell its interest in the Utica East Ohio Buckeye midstream network in 2015, reports the Youngstown Business Journal. The network in eastern Ohio includes the Kensington cryogenic plant in southern Columbiana County and a fractionation plant in Scio in Harrison County. According to the Business Journal, EV Energy’s decision to sell comes as the Houston-based company plans to reduce its midstream capital expenditures by $100 million in 2015 and its exploration and production expenditures by about 40 percent due to the decline in commodity prices. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Feb 11, 2015

Ohio steel plant’s temporary shutdown tied to decline in oil and gas business
 

Crain’s Cleveland Business reports that Vallourec Star’s steel mill in Youngstown is shutting down for at least three weeks, citing lack of demand for the oil and natural gas pipe products it makes. The mill opened in 2013 (See our June 15, 2013 blog “Vallourec Star opens $1.05 billion pipe mill in Youngstown to supply the oil and gas industry”) to help meet the demand for steel tubing by a drilling industry that was exploding across the nation. According to Crain’s, Vallourec said its 500-plus employees will return to work after the "blackout period." The company is also offering six-month voluntary layoffs to workers willing to take them. For more, read the full story.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Feb 11, 2015

Southwestern Energy won’t curtail drilling despite price declines
 

Southwestern Energy CEO Steve Mueller says the company has no intention of curtailing drilling operations despite the drop in oil and natural gas prices, reports the Wheeling Intelligencer/New Register. "Almost everyone agrees demand will continue to grow through the end of the decade,” Mueller said, “mainly driven by new power generation and exports, but also including additional industrial growth.” The newspaper says Southwestern, which acquired 413,000 acres in West Virginia and western Pennsylvania from Chesapeake Energy Corp. in 2014, plans to spend $2.6 billion on drilling and hydraulic fracturing this year. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania  West Virginia   |  Permalink

 

Feb 10, 2015

Report: Chevron looking to sell acreage in Marcellus shale play
 

Chevron Appalachia is looking for a buyer for some of its Marcellus shale acreage in western Pennsylvania, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. Citing listings on the EnergyNet website, the newspaper says that Chevron is selling tracts covering about 15,600 acres in Cambria, Bedford and Blair counties. The Business Times says it is unclear whether the sale is arising from the recent restructuring of Chevron’s Appalachia-Michigan business unit, through which it is laying off 162 employees. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

Feb 10, 2015

Smaller oil producers facing tough decision due to decline in crude prices
 

Reuters reports that the decline in crude oil prices is impacting scores of smaller U.S. oil producers who face the choice of shutting older, high-cost wells or burning through cash in the hope of riding out the downturn. The news service says that operators are already closing some small, old wells, known as strippers, and tens of thousands of similar wells are on the verge of losing money. A further slide could idle an equivalent of up to 2 percent of U.S. oil supply, according to Reuters. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Feb 09, 2015

Blue Racer shelves plan for natural gas facility in eastern Ohio
 

Blue Racer Midstream LLC has shelved its plan to build a multimillion-dollar natural gas processing facility in Mahoning County, Ohio, reports the Youngstown Business Journal. "I wouldn't say it's out of the question at some point in the future, but it certainly is at this particular point in time," Blue Racer executive Scott Williams said at the recent Hart Energy Marcellus-Utica Midstream Conference in Pittsburgh. He said Blue Racer has pulled back from the Petersburg project in Mahoning County because the northern tier of the Utica shale play has not delivered sufficient oil and gas production. For more, read the full story. More articles about Blue Racer can be found here.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Feb 09, 2015

Consol to cut spending in Marcellus, Utica plays but will still boost production
 

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that Consol Energy Inc. plans to trim capital spending on natural gas development but avoid the more drastic cuts other shale-drilling companies are announcing. According to the newspaper, Consol said it will spend about $1 billion this year on development in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays, a drop of 23 percent from the $1.3 billion it spent on that business segment in 2014. Despite the cutbacks, Consol leaders are predicting a 30 percent increase in gas production this year and in 2016. For more, read the full story. More articles related to Consol can be found here.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio  Pennsylvania  West Virginia   |  Permalink

 

Feb 09, 2015

Hilcorp to keep drilling in northern tier of Utica shale play
 

Houston-based Hilcorp Energy Co. sees opportunity where others don’t as it plans to drill more natural gas wells this year in the northern tier of the Utica shale play in eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania, reports the Youngstown Business Journal. A Hilcorp spokesman told the newspaper that the company is optimistic that oil and gas development will remain successful in the Utica’s northern tier, noting that Hilcorp spent $400 million on development of the shale play in 2014. The Business Journal says other companies that initiated drilling programs in the northern tier, which includes Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties in Ohio, have abandoned their interests, suspended exploration or not pursued new development because of lackluster well performance. For more, read the full story. More articles related to Hilcorp can be found here.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Feb 06, 2015

Vectren to spend $34 million on natural gas pipeline projects in Ohio
 

Vectren Energy Delivery of Ohio plans to install about $34 million worth of natural gas pipelines across its Ohio coverage area as part of an ongoing project to improve existing infrastructure, reports the Dayton Daily News. That amount is an increase from spending between $15 million and $18 million a year, a Vectren executive told the newspaper. The Daily News says the company is able to spend additional money on infrastructure because of the improving economy in the region and positive results from pipeline replacement work already completed in Ohio. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Feb 06, 2015

West Virginia legislators pass bill on transfer of drilling rights
 

Southwestern Energy Co. could soon be allowed to seek a transfer of drilling permits in the Marcellus shale play from Chesapeake Energy Corp. following recent action by the West Virginia House of Delegates, reports West Virginia Metro News. The news service says the House approved Senate Bill 280 to allow the transfer of permits from one drilling company to another, something currently not allowed under state law. The bill is expected to help Southwestern Energy, which paid Chesapeake more than $5 billion last year for 413,000 acres in West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania. (See our October 22, 2014 blog “Southwestern acquires Chesapeake acreage in $5.375 billion deal “) For more, read the full story.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  West Virginia   |  Permalink

 

Feb 05, 2015

American Energy Corp. requests disclosure of leases in trade-name dispute with American Energy Partners
 

Coal company American Energy Corp. (AEC) has filed a brief in a trade-name and trademark infringement case in Ohio, contending that a hydraulic fracturing company with a similar name should be compelled to produce oil and gas leases it has with landowners, according to Mealey’s Fracking Report. In a filing in American Energy Corp. v. American Energy Partners, S.D. Ohio No. 13-00886, AEC claims the leases held by American Energy Partners (AEP) “are directly relevant to the issue of whether there can be (or is) confusion as to a false affiliation between plaintiff and defendants.” Mealey’s reports that AEC filed suit against AEP, an oil and gas developer, in August 2013 in the Belmont County Court of Common Pleas, arguing that AEP should be barred from using the American Energy Partners name because it would cause “a likelihood of confusion as to affiliation, connection or association with” AEC. American Energy Partners removed the case to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.
 


 
Posted by D. Gerken in  Ohio  Oil & Gas Litigation   |  Permalink

 

Feb 05, 2015

Performance tests done on oil wells drawing scrutiny
 

Tests done on new oil wells that boosted the fortunes of energy companies by billions of dollars during the U.S. shale boom are increasingly coming under scrutiny, reports Bloomberg. Citing a study by Drillinginfo, an Austin, Texas-based analytics and data firm, Bloomberg says the one-day performance tests, whose results regularly spike the price of oil company shares, don’t provide enough data to predict future potential. Additionally, few rules or standards govern the tests, industry observers say, making for inconsistent findings at best. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Feb 04, 2015

Kasich’s budget plan calls for big boost in oil and gas severance tax
 

Ohio Governor John Kasich’s two-year state budget plan calls for a big increase in severance taxes paid by oil and natural gas producers, with Columbus Business First saying the proposal is likely to warrant opposition from trade groups representing the oil and gas industry. The severance tax hike is part of a Kasich plan that calls for a 23 percent cut in the state income tax and an overall tax reduction of more than $500 million over two years.  (See the Bricker & Eckler LLP tax alert “Tax Changes Included in Kasich's Proposed Budget for Ohio FY 2016-2017.”) Business First says the governor’s proposed 6.5 percent severance tax on high-volume, horizontal oil and gas wells is a significant increase from the 2.5 percent tax that was approved by the Ohio House in May 2014 but which stalled in the Senate. Natural gas liquids would be taxed at 4.5 percent under Kasich’s proposal. For more, read the full story. Kasich’s budget blueprint can be found here, with information about the severance tax on Page B-25.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Feb 04, 2015

U.S. House passes bill aimed at speeding up LNG approval process
 

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a bill that would expedite the approval process for export permits for liquefied natural gas (LNG), reports the Columbus Dispatch. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, told the newspaper that House Resolution 351 is aimed at advancing an approval process that has been mired in bureaucratic red tape and is frustrating LNG exporters. The bill is scheduled for hearings in the Senate. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Feb 03, 2015

Pipeline deal to boost Energy Transfer’s assets in Marcellus, Utica plays
 

Reuters reports that pipeline company Energy Transfer Partners LP will buy affiliate Regency Energy Partners LP for about $11 billion. The deal is essentially an in-house merger, according to Reuters, noting that Energy Transfer Partners and Energy Transfer Equity LP already own a combined stake of about 22 percent in Regency. The deal will help Energy Transfer expand pipeline capacity in Texas and add assets in Pennsylvania's Marcellus shale play and Ohio's Utica shale region after the deal closes in the second quarter of 2015. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

Feb 03, 2015

Ridgetop Capital raises $200 million for Marcellus, Utica purchases
 

Ridgetop Capital LP has raised its sixth and by far largest fund to purchase mineral rights and other real estate interests in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. Ridgetop Managing Partner Brad Carpenter told the newspaper that the fund, fully subscribed at $200 million, is 10 times the size of the fund that the Pittsburgh-area company completed last summer. In addition, Carpenter said he is undaunted by the recent drop in oil and gas prices, adding he may be able to capitalize on them by purchasing more real estate at better prices. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

Feb 02, 2015

Antero will reduce rig count in Utica, Marcellus shale plays
 

Colorado-based Antero Resources Corp. says it intends to cut the number of oil and natural gas drilling rigs from 21 at year-end 2014 to 14 in the Utica and Marcellus shale plays, according to the Akron Beacon Journal. The newspaper also reports that the company plans to complete 80 horizontal Utica wells and 50 horizontal Marcellus wells in 2015, down from a combined 179 wells in 2014. Antero’s cutbacks are among the first major reductions in the Utica shale region due to lower commodity prices. For more, read the full story. More stories related to Antero can be found here.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio  Pennsylvania  West Virginia   |  Permalink

 

Feb 02, 2015

Chesapeake ordered to produce documents in oil and gas lease dispute
 

A federal magistrate judge in West Virginia has ordered Chesapeake Appalachia LLC to produce unredacted electronic copies of all documents for an in-camera review pursuant to a landowner’s complaint that the company used “trickery” to extend an oil and natural gas exploration lease on her property. According to Mealey’s Fracking Report, Magistrate Judge John Kaull ruled in Frances Braden v. Chesapeake Appalachia LLC, N.D. W.Va. No. 13-107, that Chesapeake must produce 11 documents, under seal, for review by the court. Mealey’s reports that Braden filed suit in 2013, arguing she never intended for the lease she entered into with Chesapeake in 2007 to be extended beyond August 2012. Chesapeake contends the lease was extended, giving it permission to continue to explore for oil and gas on Braden’s land.

 


 
Posted by D. Gerken in  Oil & Gas Litigation  West Virginia   |  Permalink

 

Feb 02, 2015

Unemployment down 66 percent in Utica shale counties since 2010
 

Counties in Ohio’s Utica shale region have shown a 66 percent decline in total unemployment since 2010, reports Eaglefordtexas.com. The shale industry news site says the decline has been seen in Carroll, Columbiana, Harrison, Belmont, Guernsey, Noble, Jefferson, Mahoning and Trumbull counties during a period in which more than $22.5 billion has been invested in Ohio’s oil and natural gas industry. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Jan 30, 2015

Baker Hughes to lay off 7,000; Halliburton hints of job cuts, too
 

Oilfield services company Baker Hughes plans to lay off about 7,000 employees, which is 11 percent of its workforce, in the wake of the plunge in the price of crude oil, reports the Advertiser in Lafayette, Louisiana. The newspaper says the layoffs will be companywide and take place mostly during the first quarter of 2015. Executives at oilfield services giant Halliburton have also hinted of layoffs in the coming year, the Advertiser reports. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Jan 30, 2015

New pipeline will move light oil condensate in eastern Ohio
 

A new pipeline in Guernsey and Noble counties in eastern Ohio will transport light oil condensate in the Utica shale play, reports the Times-Recorder in Zanesville. The newspaper says the project by Ohio River Valley Pipeline LLC, an affiliate of EnLink Midstream, will include compression and stabilization facilities. The pipeline, scheduled for completion in the second half of 2015, will carry oil from sites in Noble and Guernsey counties to the existing Ohio River Valley pipeline that runs through the Black Run Station in Muskingum County and Bells Run Station in Washington County. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Jan 30, 2015

Oil and gas drillers face credit pinch by lenders
 

With the assets of energy companies in decline along with oil prices, banks are preparing to cut the amount they’re willing to lend to them, thereby hurting the ability of U.S. oil and natural gas drillers to keep production growing, Bloomberg reports. The news service says that in April, lenders will recalculate the value of properties that energy companies staked as loan collateral. “This could start a downward spiral for some of these companies because liquidity will dry up,” Standard & Poor’s Thomas Watters told Bloomberg. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

 

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